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Schoolchildren at St. Antonio Primary School in Manatuto receive a detailed briefing on 16 March 2018

UNDP has concluded its tsunami evacuation trainings at Marinir Primary School in Dili. These trainings were held in a total of five primary schools situated at less than 500m above sea level across four municipalities during the last month.

Over 750 students received training on tsunami evacuation and first aid in efforts to strengthen the preparedness of schools for natural disasters.

Tsunamis can attack in minutes. Knowing the warning signs, having response plans and regular drills are also relevant while preparing for cyclones, floods and other hazards, which usually take a lot more time to evolve. Most tsunamis hit more than one country and require a regional or international effort. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami recognised this following which there was a marked escalation of partnership and cooperation to enhance awareness and strengthen tsunami risk management

Schoolchildren received a detailed briefing before participating in a series of simulated exercises which involved taking cover in their classrooms, evacuating the building and re-convening at a designated meeting point. Trained medics from the Red Cross also provided a practical demonstration on evacuating and caring for the injured.

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“Countries in the Asia-Pacific region – including Timor-Leste - are vulnerable to tsunami risks, and drills are an effective way of increasing awareness and preparedness amongst coastal communities,” said UNDP Chief Technical Advisor for the Tsunami Preparedness Project, Alamgir Hossain.

“In the last 50 years there have been 37 deadly tsunamis, approximately one in every 1.5 years. Most have occurred in the Asia Pacific region with more than 280,000 people losing their lives. Awareness and preparedness are more important than ever before.”

This initiative is being implemented by UNDP in Asia and the Pacific in 18 countries which are vulnerable to tsunamis in collaboration with Tohoku University, Japan and the International Tsunami Information Centre (ITIC), with funding from the Government of Japan (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan) and supported locally by IOM Timor-Leste and Cruz Vermelha de Timor-Leste (Red Cross).

UNDP’s partnership with Japan contributes to the achievement of the Sendai Framework’s seven targets to reduce lives lost, numbers of people affected, and economic damage from natural and human-induced hazards.

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Schoolchildren in Marinir Primary School, Dili take cover under their desks on 28 March 2018

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