DUSHANBE, August 9, 2010, Asia-Plus -- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Education, the Committee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defense and UNICEF in Tajikistan on disaster risk reduction in education sector was signed in Dushanbe on August 7.

The memorandum is designed to establish cooperation and partnership as part of the project, Supporting Disaster Risk Reduction amongst Vulnerable Communities in Central Asia.  The new phase of the project is aimed at reducing disaster risks in the education sector.

Ms. Hongwei Gao, UNICEF Country Representative in Tajikistan, noted that children were the most vulnerable group of population, especially during disasters.  Due to their age children have limited knowledge and skills, life experience, physical and psychological capacity to adequately respond to disaster.  The project is aimed at enhancing skills and knowledge of children during disaster that will help them survive and rescue other people during disaster, she said.

According to UNICEF CO in Tajikistan, 14 schools in regions have been provided with main equipment for preparedness for disaster and mitigation of disaster effects.

The Ministry of Education will also strive for integrating special course on disaster risk reduction into existing curriculum.

Education Minister Abdujabbor Rahmonov noted that 600 schools in the country were now in poor state and 1,200 schools were under repair.

According to the Committee of Emergency Situations ad Civil Defense, 47 people have been killed by disasters since the beginning of this year, 19 of them were children.