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Communication in Emergencies: Putting Children First
The global community is faced with increasingly complex humanitarian crises which place children and women at significant risk. On average, UNICEF responds to more than two hundred emergencies every year, informing and shaping these actions as a global leader for children.
UNICEF works with the governments in different countries, including Uzbekistan to strengthen national disaster management capacity and coordination of humanitarian assistance. Special emphasis is given to preparedness and early recovery as well as to communication with the affected populations after the disaster strikes. Timely, accurate information plays a critical role in ensuring survival and wellbeing of all, including persons with disabilities, children and women.
On 16-17 February 2017, UNICEF in Uzbekistan organized a workshop “Communication in Emergencies: Developing the Right Message”. At this forum government officials, civil society organizations and media professionals engaged with the experts on emergencies.
“The objective of the workshop is to develop and agree upon communication messages with relevant, action-oriented information so that when the disaster occurs, people in affected communities know what actions to take,” said Yulia Oleinik, UNICEF Deputy Representative. “It is often assumed that communities affected by humanitarian situations are too shocked to take on responsibilities. In fact, many people, including children, return to normalcy more quickly when they participate in helping others and themselves during an emergency,” she added.
“It was a great experience for us,” said Eldor Madatov, Chief Specialist, Press Office of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. He added that “this workshop gave our Ministry a different perspective on how to work with the affected population, and to ensure that our communication is audience-centered.”
“To be part of this consultative process and hearing out the views of participants was very important for us,” said Sherzod Sharipov, Legal Specialist of the Republican Center for Social Adaptation of Children. He added that “it is important to understand how to communicate with children with disabilities and their families during and after emergencies. We must ensure that their needs and interests are at the center of the response.”
“There is a global agreement in place between UNICEF and the Red Crescent Society,” said Sanjar Umarov, Head of Medical and Social Department of the Red Crescent Society of Uzbekistan. He added that ”at the national level we look forward to intensify our collaboration with UNICEF and Makhalla Foundation to build community resilience to emergencies in a consolidated manner.”
As the next steps, the messages will be finalized for dissemination through appropriate channels in the event of any emergency.