‘Communication plays key role during N-emergency’
02 Oct 2017 - 3:27
The national workshop on communicating with the public in nuclear and radiological emergencies kicked off in Doha yesterday with the participation of 35 employees from various relevant authorities in Qatar.
The six-day workshop is organised by the Ministry of Municipality and the Environment, represented by the Radiation and Chemicals Protection Department, in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Opening the workshop, Assistant Undersecretary for Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Eng. Ahmed Mohammed Al Sada, the National Focal Point of the State of Qatar with the IAEA, said that the workshop aims to provide practical guidance to those responsible for providing the public and the media with useful, honest, consistent and appropriate information throughout the nuclear or radiological emergency, and responding to false information and rumours.
Al Sada underlined that confidence and availability of information are key elements in the communication process.
For her part, Director of the Radiation and Chemicals Protection Department at the Ministry Aisha Ahmed Al Baker said that public communication is one of the most important challenges in emergency management, noting that effective communication with the public on radiological emergencies is the basis for success in its management, as it helps to mitigate risks, supports the implementation of preventive measures, contributes to minimizing negative psychological effects, and maintains people’s confidence in the organs responsible for ensuring their care.
Al Sada noted that the workshop is part of the national project (2016-2017) on strengthening national capacities for preparedness and response to radiological and nuclear emergencies, in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
In view of the importance of this project and the diversity of its activities, Al Sada said that the session of the project was extended within the framework of the national projects for 2018-2019, which consists of eight national projects covering all economic, social and developmental aspects such as health, agriculture, food, environment, scientific research and infrastructure development to regulate and control radiation work, to ensure human and environmental protection.
The upcoming projects include a project to improve the palm productivity in Qatar using nuclear techniques with the Agricultural Research Department, a radiation protection project for healthcare workers in cooperation with Hamad Medical Corporation, and the national curriculum in nuclear and medical physics in cooperation with the Texas A&M University and Qatar University, Al Sada added.
She underlined that the State of Qatar attaches great importance to the promotion of radiation and nuclear safety and security, and supports the legislative and regulatory role of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment on all activities and practices involving radioactive materials, radiological devices or radiation emitting devices, in addition to the strict control measures taken in dealing with radioactive sources, before export, during its entry into the State and during its transfer, storage and use until it is completed and exported outside the State, in cooperation with the relevant State bodies.
The State also pays attention to the measures taken for ongoing environmental monitoring and detection through early warning networks distributed in the different areas of the country, border control gates at all customs outlets, ongoing environmental radiological analyses of various samples, and dose control for radiation workers.