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Press Centre (9/2014)

UNICEF Trains Others In Emergency Child Protection

ISTANBUL, Turkey, 6 September 2014 – “Please help me! I lost my husband, and I have no idea where he’s buried!” A pregnant woman approaches an aid team as they plan emergency help in the field. Exhausted, the woman falls to the ground and sobs.

Fortunately, it is just a training exercise, a disaster drill scenario run by UNICEF for humanitarian workers in Istanbul.

The fictitious country of Zumalia’s aid workers are already overwhelmed with a huge influx of refugees fleeing a violent war in neighboring Lutania and now the country is facing a natural disaster. An earthquake has just struck, leaving thousands of people dead, injured and homeless.

Zumalia’s Red Crescent immediately responded to both emergencies and sent their teams to the region. While they were working on both crises on site, they also held emergency coordination meetings with international relief organizations, local non-governmental organizations, the army, and national and international media one after the other.

The drill forced participants to focus on the key task of planning the emergency response in the midst of intense stressful and emotional commotion.

Nilüfer Kara Öztürk is from the Turkish Red Crescent Western Black Sea Region Disaster Management Center and attended the drills. She said, “As a humanitarian relief organization worker, we have added a lot of new things about child protection to our already existing knowledge. Child protection is one of the primary issues and we are stronger by basing our expertise on international and national legal regulations.”

UNICEF provided humanitarian relief on-site child protection training for Syrians in Turkey, as well as AFAD, Turkish Red Crescent and various NGO employees in Gaziantep, Adana, İzmir, Antalya and Istanbul. A total of 174 humanitarian relief organization workers benefitted from the 10 trainings held between April and August 2014.

AFAD search and rescue teams, psychosocial support teams and camp administrators formed the largest group of participants at the trainings, which were also attended by Nizip-2 Container City administrator Halil Kendirci.

An experienced administrator, Halil Kendirci said, “This training was effective in terms of both child protection and making the camp life more active. The drill in on the last day of the training was especially positive as we had the opportunity to improve our ability in empathizing with the people living in the camps. I would like to thank UNICEF and AFAD for providing us with this training.”

During UNICEF’s 5-day training on “Child Protection in Emergencies”, participants were briefed before diving headfirst into a series of scenarios, including Basic Concepts in Child Protection, Local and Global Agents in Disaster and Emergency Management, Child Protection in Emergencies, Minimum Standards of Child Protection in Emergencies, Risk Analysis & Agent Equalization in Emergencies, Needs Analysis in Child Protection, Psychosocial Support and Protection, Communication with Risk Groups, and Children Friendly Spaces.

Story and photos by Ayberk Yurtsever
UNICEF Turkey Country Office, Yukarı Dikmen Mah. Alexsander Dubçek Cd. 7/106, 06450 Çankaya/Ankara. Telephone: +90 312 454 1000 Fax: +90 312 496 1461 E-mail: ankara@unicef.org