Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) affiliated to the Ministry of Interior Ministry has signed a cooperation protocol with 14 sports federations as part of the “2021 Disaster Training Year” activities.
In addition to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, Acting Head of AFAD Hamza Taşdelen, Turkish Football Federation (TFF) Chairman Nihat Özdemir, Athletic Federation Chairman Fatih Çintimar, Boxing Federation Chairman Eyüp Özgeç, Mountaineering Federation Chairman Ersan Başar, Handball Federation Chairman Bilal Eyüboğlu, Judo Federation Chairman Sezer Huysuz, Ski Federation Chairman Ali Oto, Kick-Box Federation Chairman Salim Kayıcı, Pentathlon Federation Chairman Veli Ozan Çakır, Chess Federation Chairwoman Gülkız Tülay, Underwater Sports Federation Chairman Şahin Özer, Tennis Federation Chairman Cengiz Durmuş, Volleyball Federation Chairman Mehmet Akif Üstündağ and Swimming Federation Chairman Erkan Yalçın and federation officials were present at the ceremony.
Noting that people should always be prepared against earthquakes, Süleyman Soylu stressed that they aim at giving disaster training programs to 51 million people until the end of this year.
Minister Soylu stated that Turkey is located in a high disaster risk zone. He said earthquake risks are showing a gradual increase adding that calculations made based on the AFAD data base revealed that the number of earthquakes measuring higher than 4 in the Richter scale showed a serious increase in the last 30 years.
"In the last 30 years, annual average of earthquakes measuring higher than 4 is 108; according to the figures of date of the last 20 years, annual average is 131 and the number of earthquake measuring higher than 4 is 255. These figures showed us that we have to be prepared against a major earthquake which may take place any time and any day.”
Soylu also gave brief information about the activities carried out as a part of Disaster Training Year adding that they have increased the number of accredited search and rescue teams, founded the Police Search and Rescue Unit as a part of Police Department and aimed at completing the provincial risk reduction plans of all cities of the country until the end of this year.
Stressing that they have decreased the number of assembly areas in İstanbul which was 1.29 square meters per person last year to 3.37 square meters per person, Soylu went on to say that:
"General assembly distance in İstanbul is 500 meters which means that a person can reach an assembly area within 500 meter radius in case of an emergency. This figure is valid for 85 percent of the city and this figure is around 500 to 1500 meters in other parts of the city. We have increased the number of assembly areas in İstanbul to 5 thousand and 599. These assembly areas are the first place our people will assemble in case of an earthquake.”
Minister Soylu stated that training is an important part of pre-earthquake activities adding that training programs also include information about what to do during and after the earthquake.
Minister Soylu explained that all vehicles take to the roads during disasters and said:
“When vehicles try to arrive to the disaster area, we experience difficulties in bringing search and rescue teams to the area. Secondly, health teams have to reach to the disaster area in order to help the injured during the disaster. Another problem is communications. People try to contact each other via phones and this causes interruption in the phone communication between fire stations, search and rescue teams and urgent health response teams.”
Soylu stated that due to this reason, training programs include what to do before, during and after disasters.
He also noted that applications that will be used through cell phones during disasters will be completed soon and this application will be downloaded via virtual markets.
"We have reached 55 thousand and 915 people through our education trucks”
Minister Süleyman Soylu said during the ceremony that at first they contacted 81 governors of the country and managed to provide face to face education to 1127 local administrators and 6 million 575 thousand and 862 people till now.
“Within this framework, we reached 32 thousand and 973 mukhtars and 48 thousand and 470 village council members and they also organized disaster training programs for 8 thousand and 501 state officers. We continued our activities through mobile simulation trucks in 16 cities and till now 55 thousand and 915 people experienced earthquake simulation.”
“Moreover, 4 million 396 thousand and 636 people have watched online disaster training videos in social media,” said Soylu, “Disaster awareness contents are sent to 122 thousand and 278 associations by our Directorate General for Relations with the Civil Society. We are also planning to organize disaster awareness training programs for 600 civil associations. Our ultimate goal is to reach 51 million people through disaster training programs until the end of 2021.”
“It is always possible to reduce loss of life and property”
TFF Chairman Nihat Özdemir stressed that raising disaster awareness in the society is gaining great importance.
Noting that AFAD has been responding all kinds of disasters all over the country and it is among the leading organizations that raised the hopes of the people, Özdemir said:
"Due to its geographic location, Turkey frequently faces natural disasters. It is not possible to prevent natural disasters which are an inevitable fact of life. However, it is always possible to reduce the loss of life and property. We must always be prepared against disasters. The protocol we signed will allow us to prepare the personnel of our federations and stakeholders against disasters and cases of emergency. We will make most of AFAD’s experience and training programs.”
Meanwhile, Chess Federation Chairwoman Gülkız Tulay stated that although it is not possible to prevent natural disasters, training programs will help us to save lives.
Following the speeches Minister Soylu, Turkish Football Federation (TFF) Chairman Nihat Özdemir, Athletic Federation Chairman Fatih Çintimar, Boxing Federation Chairman Eyüp Özgeç, Mountaineering Federation Chairman Ersan Başar, Handball Federation Chairman Bilal Eyüboğlu, Judo Federation Chairman Sezer Huysuz, Ski Federation Chairman Ali Oto, Kick-Box Federation Chairman Salim Kayıcı, Pentathlon Federation Chairman Veli Ozan Çakır, Chess Federation Chairwoman Gülkız Tülay, Underwater Sports Federation Chairman Şahin Özer, Tennis Federation Chairman Cengiz Durmuş, Volleyball Federation Chairman Mehmet Akif Üstündağ and Swimming Federation Chairman Erkan Yalçın have signed the “Cooperation Protocol for Disaster Training Programs”.