Knowledge key during natural disasters

National 2 minutes, 35 seconds





THE community should familiarise themselves with their surroundings and take steps to minimise the impact of any natural disasters that occur in the sultanate, said the acting director of the National Disaster Management Centre.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, Abdul Rahim Hj Ismail said the community has to be more pro-active in educating themselves on how to handle the risks and impacts of natural disasters so they can be prepared when such a catastrophe occurs.

“We can’t avoid disasters. We can’t stop them. But we can reduce the risks and impacts on the community by being more knowledgeable and more educated in terms of preparedness and (employing) preventive measures,” he said on the sidelines of the closing ceremony of Nature Alert Camp 2016 yesterday.

Abdul Rahim stressed that it’s crucial for the community to do their due diligence and not be passive either before, during or after disasters occur.

This includes identifying whether their surroundings are disaster-prone areas, knowing the weather forecast and preparing important documents and medications for safekeeping, he added.

“We encourage people to learn and be knowledgeable on these things so they’ll know their responsibilities and what safety precautions to take when disasters occur,” he said, adding that both the government and the community play equally important roles in reducing the risks and impacts of such calamities.

He added that in an effort to instil such awareness among the community and make them ‘more resilient to disasters’, the NDMC, through its community based disaster management, has been conducting regular visits and programmes to educate the public.

Speaking of the event, Abdul Rahim as the guest of honour lauded the three-day and two-night camp that was organised by Bruneians who took part in the 42nd Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme last year.

Forty one participants comprising 27 female and 14 male youths concluded their workshop on disaster risk reduction awareness and learning about nature and the environment as part of the camp during the closing ceremony at Katimahar Agri Park yesterday.

Hj Md Hafizul Ridzuan Abdullah, as the de facto representative of the camp’s participants, during the ceremony pledged to share the knowledge they gained from the camp with others in spreading awareness on environmental issues.

Another participant, Hjh Sakinah Hj Sharif, a student from Universiti Brunei Darussalam, said the camp was an eye-opener especially in regards to learning safety measures during disasters.

“As a youth and part of the ‘modern’ generation, we have the power to spread more environmental awareness to others through the technology we have and use, and I’ll be putting that to good use whilst readying myself to volunteer should any (disasters) happen in our country,” she said.

In her remarks, Siti Nurzaidah @ Salwa Zainal in her capacity as the chairman of NAC 2016 highlighted that raising environmental awareness and changing the public’s behaviour towards saving the environment are not easy tasks.

“Consequently, one of the ways in achieving this is through educating our youth as they are our future, in line with this camp’s motto, ‘Our Youth, Our Saviors’.”

The Brunei Times