Muhibuddin Usamah is the Project Manager of Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning System in Cambodia.

Photo: Muhibuddin Usamah / UNDP Cambodia

In Cambodia, schools are often used to provide shelter in times of natural disasters. Teachers play a crucial role in preparing students and community members to respond to emergencies. They lead safe evacuations, provide protection and prevent possible damage that could happen when disasters strike.

With the support from the Government of Japan, UNDP Cambodia recently trained 25 school teachers from five schools in Stung Hav and Prey Nop Districts of Sihanouk Ville Province to conduct emergency evacuations.

These activities are part of the regional project on “Strengthening School Preparedness for Tsunamis in the Asia Pacific region”. The main objective of the project is to mitigate the impact of tsunamis by enhancing school preparedness in high risk communities in the Asia Pacific region. It will benefit school children in 90 tsunami prone schools in 18 countries in Asia and the Pacific.

Since tsunamis have not been historically recorded in Cambodia, the activities in Cambodia are tailored towards strengthening school preparedness for multi-hazard risks in the country.

Cambodia is battling mostly with floods and storms. A report from the National Committee for Disaster Management of Cambodia shows that in 2017 natural disasters killed at least 103 people, injured 120 more and affected 2,000 families, while also damaging thousands of houses, crops and infrastructure this year.

Photo: Muhibuddin Usamah / UNDP Cambodia

UNDP Cambodia has developed the Manual on School Drill, adapting the Cambodia Safe School Guideline of Child Friendly School of Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, ASEAN School Disaster Management Guidelines and other relevant resources.

The training of teachers was officially inaugurated by Her Excellency Khun Rachana, Under Secretary of State of Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. She welcomed UNDP’s initiative of increasing school capacities for disaster preparedness in Cambodia. She appreciated the conducting of participatory school assessments, increasing disaster awareness and training school children in evacuation thereby building safer schools in Cambodia. Khun Rachana hoped that the initiative is replicated in other parts of the country prone to multiple hazards.

Mr. Than Hul, Director of Prek Sorng Kae Primary School of Prey Nop District was very happy to be in this training. He expressed that he is proud that school children are trained on disaster preparedness which would build their confidence.

Ms. Uy Soksamnaung from Keo Phos High School of Stung Hav District said that as a female teacher she felt empowered with the knowledge on disaster preparedness and looked forward to seeing female students at the school trained in disaster preparedness. 

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