Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

Training cooperation from TOBB and AFAD

25.03.2021 / Ankara

The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) - AFAD Education Cooperation Protocol was signed by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu.​

TOBB President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu thanked Minister Soylu for his help in solving many problems on the ground, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, and in Turkey's fight against terrorism.

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that AFAD, which immediately responds to all disasters facing Turkey, has become an institution they are proud of, and said that they saw the most concrete examples of this in the İzmir and Elazığ-Malatya earthquakes.

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that they reached out to the needy together, joining hands as a country in disasters, and said, “We will continue to do our part as TOBB and the chamber-commodity exchange community in cooperation with our Ministry of Interior and AFAD in any disaster which might occur in our country as we’ve done before.”

Noting that Turkey, like the rest of the world, is fighting the pandemic in 2020, Hisarcıklıoğlu noted that it is also fighting many natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, floods and avalanches.

“The losses as a result of disasters affect the growth of the economy, the development of the country, the distribution of income. In order for production and trade to be minimally affected in the event of any disaster, enterprises must also be ready for disasters. The more prepared the business world is for disasters, the stronger the sustainability of the Turkish economy. For this reason, we feel responsibility as TOBB and chamber-exchanges in the process of preparing enterprises for disasters. That is why chamber-exchanges should be best prepared for disasters both for themselves and for their member businesses. Last month, we conducted a Disaster Preparedness Survey to determine how ready the chamber-exchanges are for disasters. According to the results of the survey, we have determined our roadmap. We made our plans on what to do before, during and after disasters, especially earthquakes, for disasters that are frequently seen in our country in the first place. We have organized awareness trainings for member businesses to improve disaster preparedness, resilience and business continuity.”

- “We will make our SMEs more conscious and ready for disasters”

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that they have established an “Earthquake-Disaster Workgroup” within TOBB in order to raise awareness about disasters and to start the necessary work urgently for chamber-exchanges and member enterprises.

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that they started the “Robust SME” project with Google/Idema to prepare their members for disasters. In this context, we have organized many information webinars for member enterprises in 2020. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that in order to be prepared for disasters, the business world should take out mandatory DASK insurance against earthquakes, fires, floods, other natural disasters and general damages. In this context, we also consider it very important for our members to prepare emergency action plans.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that it is not possible to prevent natural disasters, but that the loss of life and property can be reduced.

“Therefore, we need our government to lead us on this issue. I see the 2021 Turkish Disaster Training Year as a very valuable step in this respect. Look, in the first half of 2020 alone, 207 global natural disasters were recorded worldwide. All this caused $75 billion worth of economic losses globally. This is just a summary of the 6-month situation and the pandemic is not included. In the 20 years between 2000 and 2019, the average number of disaster-related deaths was 40,000 and the average annual economic loss was over $100 billion. The deadliest natural disaster is flooding, which causes 60 percent of total deaths.”

Stating that many important steps have been taken in Turkey in recent years to compensate for the economic losses caused by natural disasters, Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that the Natural Disaster Insurance Agency has been established in order to address the grievances caused by the earthquake.

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that today, in coordination with AFAD, they have launched a new cooperation aimed at reducing disaster risks by increasing disaster and emergency awareness.

“In this context, we will carry out preparatory efforts for our business world through our chambers and exchanges in 81 provinces and 160 counties. We have planned these efforts to continue throughout 2021. We will make our SMEs more aware and ready for disasters. There are shortcomings, and we will guide them to address them. Thus, we will minimize the loss of production or trade due to disasters and protect both our SMEs and our employees. In this way, we will continue the production and competitiveness of our country.”

- Interior Minister Soylu

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said, “I hope that this year we will reach 51 million citizens because 2021 is the year of disaster education. So far, we have trained a total of 3,691,457 citizens to date.”

Stating that TOBB has never spared its support in disaster events, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said, “The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey has demonstrated and continues to demonstrate a great will to fulfill its social responsibilities both alongside our nation and alongside its own colleagues in the social issues we face, especially in the floods, disasters, earthquakes, avalanches and many other disaster incidents faced by Turkey. I want to express this here both in terms of giving the job credit and in terms of sharing it with the public again. It happened in Elazığ, it happened in Malatya, it happened in İzmir, it happened in Giresun in a flood disaster. In each of them, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey did their part far beyond what we expected.

For all this, thanks to all our campaigns, they worked in partnership with our governorships and carried out the same process. We would like to express our thanks in front the public again.”

Emphasizing that the earthquake disaster in Kocaeli in 1999 was a turning point, Minister Soylu said, “We do not forget that we are a disaster zone. In this regard, we try to make our preparation improvements before, during and after the disaster by evaluating and thinking about the processes we face. Because there's so much we can do in this process, and we have to do it together. As people in front of society, high institutions in the eyes of society are expected to present a mission that is both a reminder, a guide and an action mission on this very important issue. When faced with disasters, the first question used to be where the government was. 1999 earthquake was a milestone for all of us. Allah bless our people. Nobody shirked their duty and made an important effort in this regard. This provided another lesson. To take stronger precautions on earthquakes. When we face an important test without ever taking the 1999 earthquake out of our minds, we are trying to underline together how we should fight earthquakes, floods and disasters, what our previous measures were and what they should be.”

Minister Soylu added that they will implement “Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Plans” in 81 provinces by the end of the year. “Perhaps the most important of the work we would do before the disaster was to prepare the 'Provincial Risk Disaster Palaces'. In our seven provinces, universities, professional organizations, chambers, commodity exchanges, trades organizations, municipalities, local administrations, together with our citizens, 'Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Plans' were initialized. We finished in seven provinces. In 81 provinces, we'll finish this as of this year. We started to do search and rescue accreditation. We also do this with AFAD coordination. We are expanding our search and rescue capabilities with AKUT, ANDA and the Turkish Scout Federation. In doing so, we have not only search and rescue, but also Turkey disaster plan, we have 26 workgroups. We accredited all the institutions we work with. We are trying to demonstrate the ability to provide all these things." Minister Soylu said that as of this year, they aim to provide disaster training to more than 50 million citizens. “Hopefully this year we will reach 51 million citizens as 2021 is the year of disaster education. So far, we have trained a total of 3,691,457 citizens. In this regard, we have provided instructor training to 5,734 citizens who are in voluntary professional organizations, search and rescue and public institutions. What should we do in our homes before the disaster, what should we do in the event of a disaster, what is our duty as human beings and citizens? We see this as an educational issue and hopefully reach out to all my people with this training tirelessly in the 2021 Disaster Training Year and put forward a base education and then continue it in a sustainable way.”

Minister Soylu stated that they will also extend a helping hand to the citizens whose houses burned down in Arakan. Our president has instructed us, tomorrow the teams are going there on a military cargo plane. There, the field hospital will be in service immediately. As soon as possible, this nation will reach out to this disaster faced by Arakan Muslims. We expect another move from the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey regarding İdlib.”

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