Drop, cover and hold on: Earthquake training in Turkey

11 Dec 2014 by Cherie Hart, Regional Communications Adviser, Regional Centre, Istanbul

Trainee tries to survive the earthquake simulatorPhoto credit: Cherie Hart/UNDP
Turkey has 56 earthquakes a day. Fortunately, most are only felt by extremely fine-tuned seismic sensors.   Scientists predict that Istanbul, which sits on the Anatolian fault line, is due for a major earthquake in the next 30 – 50 years, which could kill or injure tens of thousands of people. Our security office takes this information very seriously, and I recently took a staff training course to learn some practical Do’s and Don’ts during an earthquake: Do not: run out of a building while the shaking is going on Do: Drop low, Cover your head and neck and Hold on to something stable Do not: jump out of a window or off a balcony Do not: stand in a doorway. Doors don’t protect you from falling debris as well as a table or desk I’m sad to report I failed the test. I didn’t drop low enough to my knees or adequately cover my head and neck. However, I did remember to hold on tight to the desk. That part was easy. While the training was both fun and informative, I was also reminded of the importance of being prepared for the unexpected – and how hands-on disaster preparedness trainings … Read more

Development for the People

11 Dec 2014 by Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa

market scene in LiberiaA laundry basket vendor on the streets of Monrovia, Liberia (Photo: Carly Learson/UNDP)
If the Ebola outbreak is not contained soon, most of the economic and social gains achieved since peace was restored in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and since Guinea’s democratic transition began, could be reversed. In Liberia, 60% of markets are now closed; in Sierra Leone, only one-fifth of the 10,000 HIV patients who are on anti-retroviral treatments are still receiving them; and Guinea’s government is reporting a $220 million financing gap because of the crisis. All three countries remain fragile, divided, and, as the current crisis highlights, uniquely prone to shocks. More broadly, the region’s current crisis should inspire reflection about how the world supports and advances development. One important reason for these countries’ vulnerability is the consistent lack of investment in their populations, which has prevented ordinary citizens from reaping the benefits of economic growth. The threat that Ebola poses in all three countries extends beyond health care. Throughout the region, a history of conflict and a legacy of poor governance have fueled a deep distrust of governments and state institutions, as indicated in a 2012 Afrobarometer survey. Indeed, these countries’ lack of an established social contract has been the main obstacle to establishing political authority and effective governance. With … Read more

UNDP Around the world