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Getting Ready for the Unexpected: Young Rescuers Show Preparedness for Disaster Response
14 year old Durdona Solieva from Andijan region is happy to win the "Best Girl Rescuer" award during the Young Rescuers competitions. Durdona peaks at the final stage of the competition and leaves judges and viewers surprised by her energy, speed and courage. She acts as if she is involved in a real life rescue operation, and achieves results that exceed those of older participants, mostly boys. The young girl forces everyone to think over the stereotype image of the rescuer, usually depicted as a tall muscled man.
The final stage of the Young Rescuers competitions was organized at one of the youth camps of Kashkadarya region on 31 May, just on the eve of the International Children's Day 2016. Fourteen teams from all over Uzbekistan demonstrate their preparedness to emergency response to confront natural disasters. Since the start of the competitions in March 2016, over 25,000 schoolchildren take part at the district and province stages. The best of the teams make it through to the finals.
UNICEF supported this event organized by the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Ministry of Public Education and Kamolot Youth Movement.
"Children and youth in Uzbekistan are the largest part of the communities, and they are also most vulnerable in case of disasters,” - said Afshin Parsi, Chief of Education, UNICEF Uzbekistan. “This year, the country has commemorated the 50th anniversary of the devastating earthquake that hit Tashkent in 1966. Mindful of its victims, we work to reduce the risks arising from such disasters, and mitigate the damage, so we can save more lives. The competitions we have witnessed today demonstrate a strong commitment of Uzbekistan towards emergency preparedness. The young rescuers will be able to not only protect themselves in case of disaster, but will also extend support to those around them."
UNICEF works with the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Ministry of Public Education to implement a joint programme on disaster risk reduction. It is aimed at raising awareness and improving emergency preparedness and safe behavior practices in schools and communities. It also contributes to capacity of partners on school emergency preparedness. Voices of children are promoted in decisions related to disaster risk reduction through youth participation.
Just like Durdona, Nikolay Ilyin, a student of the Tashkent-based children’s home #23 participates actively in the competitions. Inspired by the results, he makes a firm commitment to become a professional rescuer in the future. A great example of how a well planned and implemented programme can impact a child’s life positively.