Workshop on making cities resilient to earthquakes at An Najah National University, Palestine
Type: Training Course
Organizer(s): An-Najah National University, Earth Sciences and Seismic Engineering Center
Date: 07 Feb 2012
Venue: An Najah National University
In coordination with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) the Seismic Engineering Unit at the Urban Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction Center of An-Najah University and the Palestinian Ministry of Local Government organized a workshop titled “My City is Getting Ready”.
Attendees to the workshop included Prof. Rami Hamdallah, President of An-Najah, Mrs. Anan Attireh, Nablus Deputy Governor, Dr. Tawfeeq Al-Budairi, Assistant Undersecretary for Engineering and Planning Affairs at the Ministry of Local Government, Engineer Adli Yaish, Mayor of Nablus, Dr. Jalal Dabbeek, Director of the Urban Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction Center and Vice President of the National Agency for Disaster Risk Mitigation in Palestine, in addition to representatives of municipalities, local government bodies, governmental and non-governmental institutions working in the field of disaster risk reduction, civil defense, the Engineering Association, the Red Crescent, the National Agency for Disaster Risk Mitigation and the Contractors Union.
In the opening session Prof. Hamdallah delivered a speech in which he welcomed the guests saying that over the last few years people have become busy with news of earthquakes that hit different countries and concerns have aroused among them. Lately, the Earthquake Engineering Unit at An-Najah has worked on raising the public awareness regarding earthquakes and their risks through distributing brochures and enforcing laws to reduce the hazards that earthquakes bring about.
Moreover, he said that the University’s scientific centers are continuously conducting various studies and research work on earthquakes and other natural disasters according to a comprehensive and integrated strategy. Meetings and workshops are also organized on this subject to discuss the current achievements and possible future developments.
He also explained that the University is cooperating with the various Palestinian institutions in different projects such as water projects, environment, urban planning, building and transportation, protection of the cultural and architectural heritage, the assessment of disasters risks….etc.
Prof. Hamdallah mentioned that the Earthquake Engineering and the Urban and Regional Planning Units work on the local and regional levels in providing the foundations and standards required for strategic planning that aims at building the capacity of institutions to deal with disasters. Through 15 years continuous work the targeted institutions and organizations locally, regionally and internationally have been recognized. He also said that the Center has provided many Arab and foreign institutions valuable consultation and assistance with respect to dealing with disastrous situations.
Mrs. Attireh called upon decision makers to adopt the recommendations of the workshops, seminars and meetings that are held to address the issue of disasters. She also called for more coordination with the experts in order to set a work plan for the reduction of disasters risks.
Dr. Al-Budairi said that the increase in population is among the reasons that could contribute to the severity of the situation in case a certain disaster takes place. He explained that the percentage of population in Gaza is 2400 persons per square km, while in the West Bank the percentage is 600 persons per square km.
He added that the Ministry of Local Government has achieved many strategies in the field of disaster risk reduction and pointed out that the workshop aims to protect the Palestinian individual according to scientific basis; he called for an integrated coordination plan for all of the sectors in the country to make cities resilient to disasters.
Dr. Dabbeek spoke about the establishment of UNISDR back in 1999 and said that the UNISDR has contributed to the building and implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action to build the nations’ and communities’ capacity. He also spoke about the objectives of the UNISDR which include the integration of disaster risk reduction into sustainable development, and the reinforcement of institutions’ capacity to deal with disasters.
The workshop consisted of a number of lectures in the first of which Dr. Dabbeek spoke about the comprehensive approaches, the disaster risk reduction strategies according to the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, and the Arab Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction 2011-2020. In his other lecture, Dr. Dabbeek spoke about the main elements of planning for preparedness, the ten-point checklist for making cities resilient, in addition to information, nomination and participation of cities in the World Campaign “Making Cities Resilient”.
In another presentation, Dr. Al-Budairi spoke about the laws and regulations regarding disaster risk reduction in Palestine.