When disasters strike, people in unsafe schools and hospitals are at the greatest risk of losing their lives. The facts bear the ugly truth: In September 2009, tropical storm Ondoy (Ketsana) brought down a total of 42 primary and secondary schools in Metro Manila, Philippines, alone, with damage reaching USD 1.6 million.
Also in September 2009, the 7.6 magnitude earthquake in Sumatra, Indonesia heavily damaged two private hospitals and affected 270,000 other buildings.
In October 2009, typhoon Pepeng damaged about 30 private and public hospitals and 100 health centres in the Philippines.
Around 17,000 children died and 2,448 schools collapsed in the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir, India.
Damaged schools mean disruption, if not total loss, of learning opportunities and a decrease in the quality of education. When hospitals and health facilities are destroyed, treatment of the sick is hampered and saving victims lives during disasters becomes harder.
On April 8 2010, government officials from the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other disaster risk reduction partners will launch the 'One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals Initiative' in Manila, (Philippines), to make hospitals and schools safer from disasters. This global action is part of the new 2010-2011 World Disaster Reduction Campaign 'Making Cities resilient,' that will be launched in May, 2010, in Bonn, Germany.
To join the pledge and make safer schools and hospitals visit: http://safe-schools-hospitals.net/en/Home.aspx
Media organisations are invited to the launch ceremonies that will take place from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. and the press conference from 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon at the Millennium Salon, Manila Hotel in Manila.
Date: 8 April 2010 (Thursday).
Venue: Manila Hotel, Manila.
Launch event: 10:00 to 10:45 a.m.
Launch of the Online Pledging Initiative
Speakers: Invited keynote speakers include the Philippines Defence Secretary Norberto Gonzales, The Philippines Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, the Philippines Education Secretary Mona Valisno and
representatives from the UNISDR, World Health Organization and the ASEAN Member States
Press conference: 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon
Venue: the Millennium Salon, Manila Hotel
For further information and media assistance, please contact:
Adelle Zsa from the Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP)
Mobile: (Manila): Tel: 09178137699
UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)
Geneva: Tel: +41 22 917 8897