The Director-General of UNESCO inaugurates exhibition of photos commemorating the earthquake of 8 October 2005

On the evening of Tuesday 10 October, the Director-General, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, inaugurated an exhibition of photos, “A Story That Must Be Told”, commemorating the first anniversary of the earthquake that shook Pakistan, India and Afghanistan on 8th October 2005.

The exhibition was jointly organized by UNESCO and the Permanent Delegation of Pakistan to UNESCO. It tells the story of the impact of the earthquake in Pakistan, documenting the devastation caused by the disaster, as well as the determination of survivors to build again anew.

In his opening remarks, the Director-General explained the three-fold purpose of the exhibition: to pay homage to the victims and to the courage and resilience of the survivors of the earthquake; to pay tribute to the Pakistani authorities for their swift response and cooperation with the international community in providing assistance to the affected populations; and to highlight the vital role education can play in emergency responses.

With regard to the latter, Mr Matsuura spoke in detail of UNESCO’s interventions under the Earthquake Response Programme (ERP). “Where other international actors focused on “hardware” – especially the physical reconstruction of schools, UNESCO insisted on less tangible but highly critical aspects for full recovery and longer-term reconstruction”, the Director-General said. These aspects included: support to educational administrators; teacher training, focusing on trauma counselling and disaster preparedness and response; support to secondary and tertiary education, ensuring that opportunities exist for continued education; and technical/vocation and non-formal education.

In all these areas, UNESCO worked in close concert with local authorities, as well as with other international actors. “As a result of our joint efforts, the education system in the affected area has been reactivated and is well engaged in reforms to deliver better educational services”, Mr Matsuura stated.

The Director-General concluded by highlighting the important role UNESCO can play in its areas of competence in the process from relief to reconstruction: “Our response to the Pakistan earthquake is exemplary of what UNESCO can and must achieve in post-crisis situations”.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • Source:Flash info n°155-2006
  • 10-10-2006
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