Minister: Best practices of most advanced countries applied for improving warning systems for natural and man-made disasters in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan, Baku, April 5 / Trend, E.Tariverdiyeva /
The best practices of the most advanced countries have been applied for the purpose of improving warning systems for natural and man-made disasters, Azerbaijani Emergency Situations Minister Kamaladdin Heydarov said in an interview with The Business Year magazine.
The Caucasus, a part of the Alpine-Himalayan belt, is one of the most seismically active zones in the world, and Azerbaijan's territory is characterized as a high-tectonic area, he said.
"Since ancient times, strong and catastrophic earthquakes have caused a large amount of human loss and destruction. Since the Ministry has been operating, the best practices of the most advanced countries have been applied for the purpose of improving warning systems for natural and man-made disasters, as well as for the realization of emergency risk evaluation work and the formation and supply of monitoring networks with state-of-art technologies," Heydarov said.
He noted that Azerbaijan has set up early warning systems for natural disasters, and a lot of work has been carried out to educate people about natural and man-made disasters.
Comprehensive information on the code of conduct during emergencies is regularly published on the official website and in the newspaper of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, he said.
Heydarov said that for this purpose, meetings are conducted in different businesses and educational institutions by different bodies and regional centers of the Ministry, where booklets, brochures, and posters are prepared as well as different kinds of competitions and contests are held for the purpose of generating a life safety culture among the youth.
At the same time, particular attention is attached to the protection of the population and territories against natural and man-made disasters with the improvement of the civil defense system by providing the prompt elimination of the consequences of disasters, Heydarov said.
He said Azerbaijan is also increasing the preparation level of our civil defense forces, developing opportunities to effectively realize search and rescue operations in high-risk conditions, and strengthening training programs regarding organizing the evacuation of population.
Today one of the main tasks is restoration of residential buildings and infrastructure seriously damaged as a result of an earthquake in the Zagatala, Balakan, and Gakh regions.
"The command center for the earthquake was established promptly and rescue forces mobilized to the region in cooperation with local forces launched the process for the search and rescue and evacuation of victims, as well as rendering first aid to them. Also, the appropriate measures have been taken to define the extent of damage to local infrastructure and social objects. The Ministry sent tents, food, and construction materials to the population in these regions," Heydarov said.
He said the Ministry inspected damaged buildings and infrastructure, and construction work has begun in the abovementioned regions with AZN20 million allocated from the President's Reserve Fund according to the instructions of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, with AZN300 million more allocated in accordance with the state budget of 2012.
At the moment, necessary measures are being taken for the timely completion of this important task given by the head of state, Heydarov said.
"On the other hand, for the purpose of protecting the population and territories from floods, overflows, and inundation, complex measures for the improvement of the management system of underground and surface water resources in the country, providing reliable protection of important water reservoirs, technical safety of hydro-junctions, water reservoir dams, river protection, canal dams, collector-drainage systems, and related hydro-technical installations, have been taken," he said.
In this regard, the State Water Resources Agency of the Ministry of Emergency Situations was established in 2011 on the basis of a presidential decree, which was a very important and progressive step.
The Ministry also gives great importance to training for the purpose of increasing the proficiency of staff as well as strengthening their knowledge and skills, he said.
According to Heydarov, the Ministry attaches great importance to cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to increase the preparation level for radiological accidents.
For the purpose of regulating attitudes in the field of nuclear and radiological safety in the Republic and the proper fulfillment of international obligations binding upon it, the State Agency for the Regulation of Nuclear and Radiological Activity of the Ministry of Emergency Situations was established in accordance with Decree No. 746 of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, dated April 24, 2008, he said.
"This state agency is an executive body participating in ensuring the nuclear and radiological safety of the population and territories, and the development of state policy on the regulation of nuclear and radiological activities," Heydarov said.
Thus, preparations for radiation accidents and the existence of response plans and their compliance with the danger, proper personnel preparation, and logistical means are controlled by the Agency, he said.
"However, as response measures for nuclear and radiological accidents at the institutional and organizational level are not enough, we attach great importance to cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to increase the preparation level for radiological accidents," Heydarov underlined.
According to him, employees of the Ministry take part in training, seminars, and other events within many projects carried out by the IAEA in the field of nuclear and radiological disaster management
"We attach great importance to the experience of the IAEA and also other leading countries in this field," Heydarov said.