On Thursday, 20 October, more than 100 000 Aga Khan Development Network staff and members of the Jamat in locations around the world will drop to their hands and knees, take cover and hold on. Together with more than 7.9 million other people around the world, they will be taking part in ShakeOut – a drill that teaches people how to protect themselves during an earthquake.
According to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, more than a third of all earthquakes that took place between 1991 and 2005 occurred in Central and South Asia. The Aga Khan Development Network's Disaster Risk Management Initiative (DRMI) was established to strengthen institutional capacity to reduce the risks associated with disaster and increase preparedness in the same region. It aims to promote safety consciousness in those countries where the Jamat is most vulnerable – Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Tajikistan.
ShakeOut is an annual earthquake drill originally developed in California by scientists and emergency response teams in order to enable the public to practice how to protect themselves during a real earthquake. The earthquake readiness campaign proved a great fit with the goals of the DRMI.
“The growth of the ShakeOut from California to other states and now other countries in only a few years has been remarkable,” says Mark Benthien, communications director for the Southern California Earthquake Center and co-founder and leader of the ShakeOut initiative. “ShakeOut is a model for how people and organisations around the world can approach community-wide earthquake preparedness, using a common set of messages.”
AKDN agencies in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Tajikistan will take part in the drill. They will joined by institutions in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
In addition, special events are being planned to raise awareness: The Aga Khan Lycée in Khorog, Tajikistan, will showcase student knowledge about preparedness through paintings and a puppet show, and the Aga Khan University has scheduled a campus-wide lecture on emergency management by experts from the Justice Institute of British Columbia.
No matter where people live or travel, they should all be prepared to protect themselves during earthquakes.
For more information on ShakeOut, including educational materials on earthquake preparedness, visit the ShakeOut website.