To the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) at Focus Humanitarian Assistance in Portugal, delivering education on how to protect oneself during an earthquake is just as important as responding effectively in the aftermath.
Donning their hard hats and emergency responder vests, the FOCUS team visited Queen Elizabeth School in Lisbon on 10 November, where they led a ShakeOut earthquake drill.
Their visit to the school was due in part to nine-year-old student Nayir Rajabali. She learnt about earthquake safety at Dar at-Talim (Ismaili religious education classes), where her father Karim Rajabali — a FOCUS Europe National Committee Member — leads a ShakeOut drill every year. Nayir wanted her classmates at school to also share in this important knowledge.
Approximately 240 students who attend the independent school took part in the drill, together with their teachers. The school underlined the importance of earthquake safety by displaying large AKDN / FOCUS posters in hallways and classrooms.
Queen Elizabeth School kindly invited head teachers from other schools to attend the earthquake session, and some of them have expressed interest in having FOCUS visit their schools as well.
Portugal is in an area of seismic risk, so FOCUS CERT volunteers deliver earthquake education sessions like this annually, all over the country — including at Jamatkhanas, as well as AKDN and Jamati institutions.
This work is part of a collaboration between the Aga Khan Development Network and California's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), which is coordinated by FOCUS around the world. Under an Agreement of Cooperation between the Ismaili Imamat and the State of California, the initiative aims to reduce loss of life from man-made and natural disasters. In 2014 over 300,000 participants from 20 countries took part in the AKDN ShakeOut drill.
At Queen Elizabeth School, students learnt what steps they can take to stay safe before, during and after an earthquake, and enthusiastically took part in the ShakeOut drill. After the drill they received handouts to share with their families about self-protection measures to take in case of earthquake.