- On 300th Anniversary of a big earthquake that shook Delhi on July 26, 1720, SEEDS event highlights significance of family preparedness.
- Dy CM says Safe Delhi will be Strong Delhi.
New Delhi, July 27, 2020: On the tri-centenary of 1720 earthquake in Delhi, experts have said that least we can do as our tribute to victims is to equip ourselves better. All high-rise apartments and houses in old buildings, particularly those in areas where the ground is mostly soft soil, should make it mandatory to hold a regular earthquake readiness drill. Anshu Sharma, co-founder of the nonprofit organisation SEEDS, which works on protecting lives and livelihoods of people exposed to disasters, said this while launching a month-long campaign on awareness and readiness with a Facebook Live event on Sunday.
Shri Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister of Delhi stated on the occasion that, “Working on disaster is not just a priority but also need of the hour. Safe Delhi will be strong Delhi. We must engage community, parents and children.”
Aaj Ki Tayarri Kal Ki Suraksha: A Family Earthquake Safety Initiative is a campaign designed to educate people and to communicate on how earthquake safety planning by families can mitigate risks and play a vital role in saving many lives. To run over a month, the program will educate people on need for a survival kit, called GoBag; and ways of assessing risk and accordingly strengthening homes, workplaces and schools. It will also include a family safety helpline bot, online masterclasses to raise knowledge and community engagement using social media platforms.
The live event was designed to raise awareness about how Delhi-NCR should work towards becoming risk ready, and how citizens can prepare themselves and their families to protect against earthquakes. The initiative is part of the Honeywell Safe Schools programme that SEEDS is implementing, in partnership with Education Department, Government of Delhi.
The live event was hosted by Yezdani Rahman, Chief of Programmes, SEEDS, along with the team’s school safety and communications specialist, Sabiha Ansari. Over 500 people who participated in the event and and raised questions.
During the live event, children who are part of the Honeywell Safe Schools programme in East Delhi conducted a mock drill with their families, on how they will need to protect themselves in the eventuality of an earthquake. Strict distancing and health protocols were maintained during the drill, in view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation. It was also highlighted that if a second disaster like an earthquake strikes during a pandemic, people need to take steps keeping both risks in mind, and any additional secondary ones.
A ‘Family Safety Plan’ approach curated by the subject experts at SEEDS was also showcased during the live session. The ten-point guideline manual will help people be adequately prepared for an earthquake.
Explaining about the campaign concept, Dr. Sharma, Co-Founder SEEDS, said, “Having worked in the aftermath of all major earthquakes in the country over the past 25 years, we know that earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings do. It is extremely important for people to be ready and have the essentials that they will need in case an earthquake strikes. The idea is not to panic but to empower yourself and your family with information and tools that will put you under a safety cover.”
During the live session, the speakers talked about safety measures required before, during and after an earthquake, and the responsibilities of individuals and families during a disaster situation.
Host Yezdani Rahman said, “The earthquake tri-centenary is a reminder that we are at risk. This, along with Covid-19 that we are reeling from, and the risk of flooding in the ongoing Monsoons – all put together tell us that we must respect nature, and learn to live with risk. Understanding our risk is a great starting point. With that done, we can correctly invest in resilience building and can be prepared. This cannot be the role of only the government; each one of us must do our bit for our family’s safety.”
During the live session, participants asked a number of questions, many of which related to doubts on immediate actions to take, like staying indoors or running out when an earthquake strikes. One participant later commented that, “The recent tremors have left all of us concerned. There are many small things that most of us are unaware of. It is important for us to know precise steps to be taken, and this event was useful in this regard.”
About SEEDS SEEDS (Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society) is a not-for-profit organization that enables community resilience through practical solutions in the areas of disaster readiness, response and rehabilitation. Since 1994, the organization has worked extensively on every major disaster in the Indian subcontinent – grafting innovative technology on to traditional wisdom. It has reached out to families affected by disasters and climate stresses; strengthened and rebuilt schools and homes; and has invariably put its faith in skill-building, planning and communications to foster long-term resilience. SEEDS is also India’s first agency to be certified for the global Core Humanitarian Standards – an international certification system for quality and accountability in humanitarian response. SEEDS completed 25 years of outstanding service to humanity in 2019 and is re-anchoring its approach to building resilience through innovation. It continues to empower the most vulnerable across Asia to build a better future.
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