More than a third of all earthquakes between 1991 and 2005 around the world occurred in Central and South Asia. The quakes in Sarez, Tajikistan (1911); Gujarat, India (2001); Naryn, Kyrgyzstan (2002); and Azad Kashmir, Pakistan (2005) are the examples of the seismic hazards that exist in the region and their devastating consequences.
‘Drop, Cover and Hold On in case you feel a tremor’ was the message given to participants of an earthquake preparedness drill organised by Aga Khan University (AKU) on October 20 at all its locations in Pakistan.
The drill was part of the Aga Khan Development Network’s ShakeOut Campaign across Central and South Asia, covering Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Tajikistan. On hearing an alarm, hundreds of AKU faculty, staff, students and volunteers followed a quake preparedness protocol – ducking under tables, desks and other sturdy pieces of furniture and holding on for a minute, practising what to do and where to take shelter in case an earthquake strikes.
“It is crucial to remind ourselves that we live in a seismically-active part of the world, and must regularly practice how to respond during earthquakes. The Drop, Cover and Hold On technique is highly effective in reducing injuries caused by non-structural hazards,” said Dr Firoz Verjee, coordinator of the AKDN’s Disaster Risk Management Initiative.
“Drills keep people active and build awareness,” says the chair of AKU ShakeOut Campaign Task Force, Nadeem Mustafa Khan, “this was indeed a learning experience for all.”
AKDN’s ShakeOut drill aims to mainstream disaster management, and accelerate emergency preparedness and risk reduction across its institutions in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Tajikistan. The October event will be held annually to promote seismic safety consciousness and readiness throughout the region.
For more information, visit:
http://www.shakeout.org or http://www.dropcoverholdon.org
Rasool Sarang, Assistant Manager Media, Department of Public Affairs, Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi, on +92 21 3486 3920 or firstname.lastname@example.org