U.S. helps Attapeu prepare for natural disaster

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VIENTIANE,24.02.2012 (KPL)- The U.S. Government has provided disaster preparedness kits valued at more than 480 million ($60,000) to communities in Attapeu to help mitigate the effects of natural disasters such as floods and typhoons.
The disaster preparedness kits include boat engines, life jackets, life bouays, generators, loud speakers, and other items useful for alerting and safeguarding communities in the event of a natural disaster.
U.S. Ambassador to Laos Karen Stewart presented the equipment to community representatives from Sanamxay district and Sanxay district during ceremonies on Feb. 16.
The ceremonies were also attended by Mr. Khamphone Meungsam, Provincial Education Department Director; Dr. Bounpheng Philavong, Deputy Director of Cabinet for the Ministry of Health; Representatives from the Lao Red Cross, French Red Cross, and UNICEF; and members of the District Disaster Management Committees.
The U.S. began supporting disaster mitigation efforts in Attapeu in September 2009, following the devastation caused by Typhoon Ketsana. At that time, the U.S. Government responded by providing assistance through UNICEF to help affected communities in Attapeu to access clean water and improved sanitation.
Since then, USAID has continued to partner with UNICEF and the French Red Cross to support communities in Attapeu province to better prepare for future disasters.
This effort is part of the larger initiative of the Government of Laos and several agencies working in the country to better prepare communities for future disasters.
UNICEF and the French Red Cross, working closely with the Lao Red Cross and local authorities, have completed training of trainers and training of community members to identify disaster risks and prepare plans to mitigate those risks.
The equipment provided on Feb. 16 will be maintained by the members of the Disaster Management Committees and used only in the event of an emergency or disaster.
In her remarks, Ambassador Stewart stressed that she hoped the new equipment would never be needed. “I hope these items don’t need to be used often for disaster responses in your community, but if there is a disaster, I hope this will help you to be better prepared”.