International Day for Disaster Reduction 2015 

Ever since 2008, Bhutan has been observing the International Day for Disaster Reduction as an annual event. This year, the day was observed in the capital city of Bhutan on 13th October 2015 with diverse participation including Parliamentarians, UN agencies, Policy makers, professionals in the field of disaster management and several students from Thimphu Municipality.

Keeping up with the theme of “Knowledge for Life”, the event was celebrated on how the people and communities use their traditional, indigenous and local knowledge to confront and prepare in reducing their exposure to the emerging disaster risks.

The day was graced with the presence of Minister of Home and Cultural Affairs, Lyonpo Dawa Gyaltshen who in his address urged that it is everyone’s responsibility to confront disaster and recognize the need to learn from our past experiences of disaster preparedness and management. A video message by Honorable Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay was played where he stated “As much as our beloved monarch and the government works to manage disasters better, community participation is important”. He stressed on the urgency and the need of the communities to equally take the responsibility and not just depend on the government.

The Resident Coordinator of the UN Systems in the country, Christina Carlson echoed on UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon’s message of recognizing the efforts of communities, who put their wisdom to reducing disaster risks. She also shared her past engagement and experiences on disaster risk reduction during the Hurricane Sandy in New York. She called on the need to decentralize disaster risk reduction at grassroots level for timely and effective relief and response during emergencies.

The event also included technical presentations on floods, earthquake, windstorm and emergency medical services as part of sensitizing and sharing the level of awareness and preparedness in the country. An outdoor exhibition by school children added the importance and understanding of our youth in terms of disaster management in the country. Much of the display exhibited on the safety structure construction requirements, emergency rescue operations, and skills and resources for preventing disaster risks.

Message from His Excellency the Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs

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