Minister of Interior Affairs Mr. Süleyman Soylu s launched trhe Preparedness for Disasters Year during a promotion meeting organized at AFAD. Noting that they have taken 6 strategic steps, Minister Soylu stated that they have started a new movement with #BePreparedforDisasters motto during the promotion meeting held at the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) headquarters. Meanwhile, Head of AFAD Dr. Mehmet Güllüoğlu announced 6 important disaster management projects. Stating that Turkey has experienced an important day in the history of disaster management, Dr. Güllüoğlu stressed that all projects complement each other.
Promotion Meeting about Preparedness for Disasters Year prepared in an effort to establish preparedness for a disaster culture in Turkey was held at the AFAD headquarters. Six Projects prepared as a part of the Preparedness for Disasters Year were shared with the public for the first time during the meeting participated by the Minister of Interior Affairs Süleyman Soylu, Deputy Ministers of Interior Affairs İsmail Çataklı and Mehmet Ersoy and Head of AFAD Dr. Mehmet Güllüoğlu.
Minister Soylu explained the purpose of the meeting as “…Making mental preparations before disasters take place is the most important part of risk reduction. Today, we have initiated a new movement with the “Be Prepared For Disasters” motto. This movement must be adopted especially by all state organizations, nongovernmental organizations and the people. If we can make it happen, then we will achieve success.”
Apart from the Preparedness For Disasters Year, “AFAD Volunteering System”, that will allow individuals to take a part in disaster management, “AFAD Accreditation System” that will authorize persons who will have a mission durinmg disaster management according to standards, Turkey Disaster Risk Reduction Platform that will reflect the views and suggestions of all parts of the society regarding disaster management, Disaster Risk Reduction System (ARAS) that analyzes disaster hazard and risks city by city, and Disaster and Emergency Exercises that allow correcting shortcomings were introduced to the public.
Weak Disaster Memory is the Cause of Being Caught Unprepared
Addressing the opening of the promotion meeting, Minister of Interior Affairs Süleyman Soylu explained that weak disaster memory is the cause of being caught unprepared. Noting that the society lacks enough disaster experience and memory before the August 17, 1999 Earthquake, Minister Soylu emphasized that there was a rise in disaster awareness of people after that night.
The Minister of Interior Affairs reminded that when earthquakes are analyzed according to a 15 years’ time interval, it can be seen that there was a 27% rise when compared to previous period adding that, “When we consider major earthquakes that took place since 1900s to today, Turkey ranks 4th in the World with 77 earthquakes. The region that was affected due to August 17 earthquake is playing host to 23 percent of Turkey’s population. In other words, when we examine earthquakes from the world scale, we can see that we are among the most risky countries in terms of natural disaster risk.”
Turkey is in a good place for disaster management
Stressing that Turkey is in a good place in terms of both legal procedures and organizational ability, Minister Soylu said, "The 1999 earthquake was a milestone for Turkey in the organizational manner. AFAD has become Turkey’s honor in terms of offering aid both in disaster management in the country and in cases of international emergencies… Organizations such as AFAD, AYDES and İKAS are producing important output with their digital infrastructure before, during and after disasters.”
Minister Soylu: “We are initiating 6 strategic steps”
Minister Soylu referred to Turkey Disaster Response Plan (TAMP) and organizations in charge of TAMP during his speech and went on to say, “Now, Turkey has achieved an organized body that acts with a plan in cases of disaster and it has the capacity to offer aid to any place… As a result of analyses and studies conducted by AFAD, we have defined 6 strategic steps and we announce the start of all these steps. We defined our first step as the declaration of preparedness of disasters year… Second step will be establishment of the AFAD Volunteering System. Third is the foundation of Disaster Accreditation System.”
Noting that teams will visit governor’s offices unannounced and conduct disaster exercise in 5-10 minutes, Minister Soylu also talked about Disaster Risk Reduction System (ARAS) during his speech. He underlined that ARAS is a very important guideline and reference for all institutions and organizations.
Goal: Conscious and Prepared Turkey Against Disasters
During his speech Soylu defined the main goal of Preparedness of Disasters Year and other 5 important projects as achieving disaster resistant and prepared Turkey and added, "We are working in an effort to make Turkey as the safest country in the world. Disaster issue is a part of this effort… We must be the most prepared country against disasters… But we have to work with sacrifice and focus on our goal. Our people should learn to be prepared against disasters like they know how to eat and tie their shoes. We will continue to work in every single city of the country until we achieve this goal.”
Head of AFAD: “AFAD is known with its response activities but we also work intensively in an effort to reduce risks”
Head of AFAD Dr. Mehmet Güllüoğlu referred to AFAD’s response and rehabilitation activities and said, “However, we are aware that the real effort that will really reduce life and property loss are risk reduction and preparation activities. In this light, we continue to work intensively in this field.” Noting that they would like to position AFAD’ not only as a crisis authority but as the office of “crisis and risk management”, Head of AFAD Dr. Güllüoğlu said, “disaster managers have a motto: ‘think the best, prepare for the worst”, we are working in line with this motto.”
Dr. Güllüoğlu noted that they aim at enhancing the transformation from crisis management mentality to risk management adding that, "We would like to position AFAD not only as a crisis management authority but as risk management office. We hope to transform AFAD’s concept in this direction.”
Giving detailed information about 6 strategic projects by using promotion videos, Head of AFAD said, “I believe that these 6 important projects will contribute to disaster management and it will have a gradual impact and this is an important day in the history of Turkey’s disaster management.”