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June 23, 2021

Emergency official Arafat: Earthquake preparedness has increased in Romania, but not to make quake moot

Earthquake preparedness has increased in Romania, but not enough to make earthquake a moot question, senior official with the Interior Ministry Raed Arafat, head of the Emergency Department (DSU) says in a Facebook post, adding that a strong preventative component is needed in order to deal with a major earthquake.

“I am coming back to the common question, namely: are we prepared to deal with an earthquake? The answer is obvious: Certainly, over the last few years, our preparedness has increased, but not so much as to please us and ease our minds about it. Equipping over the last years and projects to be carried out in 2018 – 2020 will increase our preparedness even more, but we can still not say that it is enough and we do not have to worry, because there will always be new measures to be taken and new projects to be implemented. To be as prepared as possible to face a major earthquake, a strong preventative component is needed, and such component is a very expensive one at first glance,” says Arafat.

He also mentions a need for stability in the emergency system.

According to him, prevention was and remains the weakest link in the earthquake preparedness chain.

He says that the next necessary link is to prepare the population and organisations essential to ensure the state works in case of disasters, including “critical infrastructures” in the public and private sectors, such as energy, food, healthcare suppliers, etc.

Arafat points out that DSU, together with the General Emergency Inspectorate (IGSU), has begun in recent years to implement various projects for the preparation and information of the population.

According to him, one of the important steps made by the DSU was the introduction, with support from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), of the “continuity of government ” classes.

Arafat shows that planning is another important aspect in preparation for dealing with emergencies and that it must be based on modern and easy to implement concepts.

He mentions that alerting and informing the population about imminent danger or how to act after a catastrophic event has come to the attention of the DSU over the last four years.

He notes that out of 600 million euros, 104 million euros were already been committed under firm contracts in 2017, and for the rest of the funding, several public procurement procedures at the IGSU level are in progress.

Arafat also says the law provides for allocating up to 5 percent of the local budgets for emergency management, but many communities do not allocate any amount. He also mentions the importance of volunteer programs.

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