We're Ready When Disaster Strikes

City participates in international "Disaster Risk Reduction" exercise

A two year campaign, called 'Hospitals Safe from Disasters', is being conducted in Cape Town to ensure the city is ready when and if disaster strikes. The campaign is being spearheaded by the secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The training campaign, which has the support of the World Bank, seeks to protect the lives of patients and staff by ensuring health facilities are able to keep functioning during and after disasters. The programme also ensures that health workers are prepared for and can cope with the consequences of natural disasters.

The City of Cape Town has decided to conduct simulated evacuation exercises to prepare health facilities in the Cape Metropole for possible disasters. These exercises are being held to commemorate the start of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction Week.

Relevant City departments will participate, including the Disaster Risk Management Centre, Fire and Rescue Services, the Provincial Disaster Management Centre, the Department of Local Government and Housing and the Department of Health. A public and a private hospital will also participate in these exercises.

The Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial hospital and the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre were selected to host the campaign on 14 and 15 October 2009. Simulated evacuation exercises will be conducted at both facilities. The theme of the exercise will be "Hospitals safe from disasters, reduce risk, protect health facilities and save lives".

The campaign seeks to create disaster resilient communities by promoting increased awareness of the importance of disaster reduction and to reduce the consequent human, socio-economic and environmental losses.

This year's awareness drive will assist health facilities to remain fully functional during and in the aftermath of disasters or emergency situations.

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