The National Agency for Disaster Risk Mitigationand the Urban Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction Center/ the Earth Science and Seismic Engineering Unit at An-Najah National University and in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ramallah and Al-Bireh organized a workshope entitled " earthquakes risk mitigation in Palestine” In a series of programs aimed to generalize public awareness in the field of building the capacities of the community and its institutions to cope with disasters, On the occasion of launching the activities of the SASPARM project.
The workshop was held in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ramallah and Al-Bireh and in which a number of representatives of governmental and non-governmental and private sector institutions participated. The workshop was moderated by retired Maj. Gen.Mr. wasef e’reqat the head of the National Agency as for Disaster Risk Mitigation; he initiated the workshop by welcoming audience and thanking them for participation, indicating partnership and joint work between the Commission and An Najah University and clarifying the Palestinian urgentneedto build the capacity of the community to cope with disasters ,adding that the world is giving this topic a great attention,Which confer double responsibilities on the Palestinian society to confront the catastrophe of the occupation on the one hand and to consistency with international and Arab Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction on the other hand. He also spoke about the origins and evolution of the concepts of disaster management in the Palestinian reality and the number of strengths and weaknesses points and how to turn the weaknesses into strengths.
Dr. Ibrahim Alfanni the Palestinian monuments expert and the head of Al Quds Foundation for Research and Documentation of the effect of earthquakes on the Palestinian monuments, warned of an Environmental disaster prepared by the occupation in Jerusalem (Al-Aqsa mosque and the Church of the Resurrection) and changing the cultural building, clarifying this with maps, he also pointed to the need to take advantage of the lessons of the past, and he also said that smart people can turn harmful to wholesome.
The retired Major General Ahmed Rizk - Abu Rabi the former General manager of Civil Defense noted to the importance of continuing the work to bring change in the concepts about disaster risk mitigation and expanding the community participation, and the Supreme Council of Civil Defense confirmed on the need to develop legislation to secure and to unify the national effort to cope with disasters.
Dr. Jalal Al Dabbeek the head of the Urban Planning and Disaster Risk reduction Center / Earth Sciences and Seismic Engineering Unit at An -Najah University and the vice president of the National Agency for Disaster Risk Reduction talked about the international strategy for disaster reduction UNISDR and the Arab strategy for disaster risk reduction for the period 2011-2020΅ and the Hyogo Framework to build the resilience of nations and communities to disaster during the decade 2005-2015, and the concept of disaster risk assessment and management and How to mitigate the risks of seismic disaster in Palestine, the first part of the presentation included the reasons for increasing the disaster risk in urban areas, And a review of the most important elements of the Global Campaign for Disaster Reduction and how to make cities more resilience to disasters: my city is ready!
Where the ten essential points that the Municipalitiesandlocalgovernmentbodies should adopt and implement to build their abilities to cope with different disasters. The subject of risk maps that municipalities and local government bodies should provide, and this includes detailed maps of landslide seismic amplification zones and faults, and they assured that the Physical Planning Guide which will be used by local government bodies and municipalities in Palestine must include the standards and rules of disaster risk reduction, and adopt these standards in the planning process for land use. The presentation also included the Seismic Design and the efforts by the Ministry of Local Government, the Ministry of Public Works and Housing and, Engineers Association and the Urban Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction center at An-Najah University to adopt the seismic design in Palestine.
In the second part of the presentation, the SASPARM Project was introduced to the audience, the SASPARM Project which is implemented by the Urban Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction center/ Seismic Engineering Unit at An-Najah University in cooperation with the EUCENTRE and the IUSS University in Italy, funded by the European Union through the FP7 project. the presentation included the aims of the project , the most important elements of the project , target groups, and a reference to the project's website www.sasparm.ps , this site will include research, articles, information and Public awareness bulletins in the field of disaster risk mitigation and the seismic design in Palestine, this site will be helpful for all segments of the society, Dr Dabbeek also indicated that the project includes the development of the capacity of the laboratories of the Urban Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction Center at An -Najah University, as well as the building of the ability of the researchers at the center , and through the project there will be training courses in the field of seismic design for engineers working in the public and private sector.
At the end of the presentation a number of gaps and challenges which face the Palestinian governmental and non-governmental institutions in the field of disaster risk reduction were reviewed and the focusing on the importance of building a Palestinian strategy for disaster risk mitigation, so that this strategy should be based on the concepts and elements of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and the priorities of the Hyogo Framework for actions, building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters during the decade 2005-2015 and the Arab strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction for the period 2011 - 2020.
During the discussion session the participants spoke about a number of topics and the most important one of them: the obstacles and challenges that Palestinian institutions had to deal with while confronting with floods caused by the low-pressure which happened in January 2013, and the lack of possibilities that the Palestinian National Authority has in the presence of the occupation. The interventions included recommendations on legislation and laws related to buildings and infrastructure, and the need for their suitability to the requirements and conditions of dealing with different disasters, and the need to provide the necessary financial budgets.
At the conclusion of the workshop and after answering the queries , the audience were recommended to coordinate and work with relevant institutions, to establish operating rooms to deal with disasters and crises, to develop practical mechanisms for the use of the special equation for determining and analysis of risks, and to develop indicators or digital weights to be used by municipalities to assess their risks and then to determine the levels of these risks, also to prepare TOR to assess buildings, schools, hospitals …etc, as well as to identify the natural frequencies of the land and produce detailed maps for the seismic design , and focus on the role of universities and to provide courses in the field of disaster risk mitigation, and to develop clear mechanisms to adjust the process of designing and implementing buildings in accordance with the requirements of codes of the earthquake resistant buildings .
The news was published in several websites