Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) signed a deal with Japanese authorities yesterday in a bid to bolster cooperation in reducing the impact of disasters.
They are thousands of miles away, but both countries have had their share of earthquakes as both sit on active fault lines. Yesterday's agreement signed by AFAD officials and officials from Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism seek to create common events in minimizing damage from disasters and an exchange of know-how on the field. It was signed on the anniversary of the 1939 earthquake in eastern Turkey's Erzincan, a 7.9-magnitude quake that killed 33,000 people.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Ankara, AFAD President Mehmet Güllüoğlu said like Turkey, Japan experienced a great earthquake in 1923, forcing both countries to prioritize reducing the risks stemming from earthquakes. Güllüoğlu praised the work of Japanese scientists who came to Turkey in the 1950s to teach seismology at Istanbul University as a milestone in the advance of seismology science in Turkey. He added that Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was also instrumental in the training of Turkish researchers on education, including the staff of AFAD.
The ceremony was accompanied with a seminar on earthquake risk and reducing the earthquake damage. Mehmet Güllüoğlu said they exchanged Turkish and Japanese experience in disaster management, seismology, early warning system and urban planning applications among other issues.
The agreement covers a capacity building project for urban development sensitive to disaster risks, dialogue on disaster management cooperation, seismic reinforcement of existing buildings with Japanese technology, disaster information sharing system for immediate data gathering in large-scale disasters, improvement of early warning systems against earthquakes, and prevention of avalanches.
Turkey and Japan had signed a declaration of goodwill in 2014 for disaster management cooperation to share their experience and know-how on the subject, including the use of communications technologies, evacuation plans and damage assessments in the aftermath of disasters.