VIII Conference “International Day for Disaster Reduction”

Portugal hosted, the 14th October 2013, the VIII Conference “International Day for Disaster Reduction“, organized by the Municipality of Amadora, in collaboration with CERCIAMA – Cooperativa para a Educação e Reabilitação de Crianças Inadaptadas da Amadora.

Living with Disability & Disasters” is the theme launched this year by the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction of the United Nations.

During the opening session, Carla Tavares, Vice President of Amadora City Council, pointed out the importance of the georeferencing work of old and disabled people, developed in the last three years in partnership with various institutions, as a strategic tool of intervention in this sector.

Promoting a culture of prevention” of natural and man-made disasters was the slogan pronounced by the speakers who sought to explain the importance of involving not only institutions, but the whole civil community in the difficult task of prevention and disaster reduction.

Maria José Roxo, professor at the School of Social and Human Sciences of the New University of Lisbon, stated the role of the human contribution in reducing the impact of disasters. “Science makes sense only if it is shared with people and decision makers,” she concluded.

During the meeting, Ana Brás, General Director of CERCIAMA, explained how the implemented actions aimed at training users and technicians in case of disaster. There was also the opportunity to attend a small theater by the users of this cooperative, which funny simulated what to do in case of evacuation plan. António Neves, of Equipa Comunitária de Resposta à Emergência – ECRE, stressed that it is necessary to change the stereotype created around the term “persons with disabilities“. To do this, it should consider them not only as people suffering from a disability, but rather as ” more vulnerable citizens”, mainly in an emergency situation.

He also pointed out that, in the municipality of Amadora and according to the 2011 census, of 175,136 inhabitants about 32,742 have more than 65 years and there are 26,297 people with some limitation/disability, thus reinforcing the relevance of the georeferenced mapping of these citizens.

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