Improving School Seismic Safety in Armenia

Aug 5, 2015

Photo credit: © UNICEF/ARM-Hayrapetyan

YEREVAN, 5 August 2015 — Asian Development Bank (ADB), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Armenia signed an agreement on collaboration on August 5 to strengthen partnership on Seismic Safety Improvement Program in Armenia.

In the framework of the document partners will direct their efforts towards improving seismic safety of schools throughout the country to reduce casualties and damages in school buildings during earthquakes. The program will enable better use of school buildings to ensure a safe, resource-efficient and inclusive environment for school children.

Upon the request of the Armenian government, ADB is processing a loan to support the public school seismic safety improvement programme. The programme, developed for 2015-2030, was approved by the Government of Armenia in July 2015 and will target 380 public schools that will be strengthened or newly built during the next 15 years, out of which 46 will be targeted for the next 5 years.

UNDP supports the Armenian government to improve institutional and legal framework at national and local levels in disaster risk reduction, develop crisis management centres and 911 call services, and develop disaster risk reduction library, conduct simulation exercise, and training for government staff. UNDP also supports the government in seismic risk assessment in cities and promoting making cities resilient global campaign. UNICEF extends efforts to prevent disaster losses for children, introduce disaster risk reduction in education and reduce children’s vulnerably at times of crises. UNICEF also supports the Armenian government in the development of the concept of a cost-effective, inclusive, and resilient model school for Armenian children.

In 2014, UNICEF supported the Government of Armenia, civil engineers and other stakeholders to implement a school safety methodology based on the analysis of 20 prototypical school designs. 60 at most risk schools were assessed, out of which 5 schools were not recommended to be utilized as a school anymore and 55 schools were identified as highly vulnerable and recommended for retrofitting or rebuilding.

In the long term, this program will not only contribute to increasing seismic resilience of school buildings in Armenia and strengthening seismic disaster preparedness, but will also address the need for improvement in policies and systems for seismic disaster risk management and enhance the capacity to implement seismic safety in the country. Partners will also launch awareness raising campaign for communities and school children.

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UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

UNDP in Armenia, as a strategic partner to the government and other stakeholders, assists their efforts to improve the quality of life and the well-being of Armenian people. Fighting poverty and unemployment, supporting decentralization and ensuring equal access to basic social and economic services, and education for vulnerable groups is in the center of UNDP activities in Armenia.

Contact information

For more information please contact:

Zara Sargsyan, Communication Officer, Tel: (37410) 580 174, ext. 113, Email: zsargsyan@unicef.org

Hovhannes Sarajyan, Communications Associate, United Nations Development Programme, Email: hovhannes.sarajyan@undp.org; Phone: +374 60 530000 (ext. 128); Cell: +374 91 420122

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