Chilean President enacts National Policy for DRR and signs bill

Michelle Bachelet signs draft law on National Policy for DRR
Photo: ONEMI 

Source: National Emergency Office of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security (ONEMI)

SANTIAGO, Chile, 16 December 2014 –Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet, signed the bill that will replace the National Emergency Office by the National Risk and Emergency Management Service, which will be responsible for planning, coordinating, advising and supervising all institutions in this area.

At the ceremony, the Minister of the Interior and Public Security, Rodrigo Peñailillo, presented the President with the National Policy on Disaster Risk Management, which includes a guiding framework to significantly reduce the adverse effects of disasters in the South American country. It is created as a tool that provides a set of guidelines for developing a sustained disaster risk reduction process as well as providing guidelines on how to respond to emergencies appropriately.


Upon presenting the initiative, the Chliean leader stressed that the characteristics of Chile´s territory increase its vulnerability to disasters, and emphasized that “because we have these structural conditions, this history and this experience of disasters, we have an obligation to continually improve our response to potential occurrences.”

The President described the announcement “as relevant to the commitment of not only public institutions that face disasters but as a society as a whole, as it should be,” adding that “we know that is not enough to respond only the emergency itself, but we have to prepare in advance, so that everyone is clear about how to proceed when the moment arrives.”

“We cannot think of risk and disaster management as something that is only activated when a disaster occurs, because then we are arriving very late,” said President Bachelet.

At the same time, she stressed that “we need to invest more in prevention and preparation, so that all state, public sector and private sector bodies, as well as citizens themselves, understand their tasks in a complex moment.” She added that it is important to learn from the experiences “and invest the resources required for Chile to have a system to deal with natural disasters according to its level of development.”

Explaining the scope of the project that creates the new National Risk and Emergency Management Service, the Head of State said that this institution will be responsible for the tasks required in all phases of the process, i.e prevention, risk management, during the disaster and during the subsequent recovery, “and from an intersectoral perspective, with emphasis on the local characteristics,” she said.

Referring to the motivations of the initiative, the President explained that “we are conscious of our country’s need for a response to emergencies in all their phases, so that, although unavoidable, we can at least minimize damages and, without a doubt, losses that occur.”

At the end of her speech, she urged everyone to "work much harder to create a culture of prevention, in which each of us understands how to behave in each case, to preserve both our lives and the lives of those close to us.”

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