Interviewer: Dr Tha Sein
Photos: A-1 Soe
A Workshop on Mass Event and Disaster Preparedness jointly organized by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Government of Israel and UNDP is being held in Nay Pyi Taw from 18 to 21 November 2014. With regard to the workshop, a news crew of the Myanmar News Agency of the Ministry of Information met Mr. Yehiel Kuperstein, who is an Israeli expert & consultant to lead the meeting, at Tongapuri Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw on 17 November 2014 and conducted an interview with him.
Q: What the main objective of the workshop and how have you prepared for it ?
A: The main objective of the workshop is to share knowledge on disaster preparedness and management, to strengthen the collaboration between Israel and Myanmar on disaster management, to build disaster preparedness skills of the disaster preparedness practitioners by sharing Israeli methodology and way of thinking in emergency management and to share the principles of emergency response, site and event management and practices of Israel. As preparatory measures, I met with senior Myanmar police officers and those responsible in Yangon yesterday and shared experiences and exchanged information with them.
Q: As an expert of disaster management, how much experience did you have and what kinds of disaster did you witness?
A: I have been over 20 years in disaster management and witnessed a great deal of disaster in various forms. I am responsible for the construction of dozens of shelters “safe rooms”, secure fences, warning systems and lighting systems country-wide, overseeing tests and research in the field of building durability during explosions and earthquakes and providing guidance to citizens via media during emergencies. I was extensively engaged in development and acquisition of search & rescue equipment for HFC and civilian units while developing doctrines, professional literature, guiding principles & professional techniques for civil protection, mitigation of disasters and search &rescue.
Q: Did you have any comment on disaster management and preparedness in Myanmar?
A: It is still early to make comment on disaster management and preparedness in Myanmar and we need times to be able to do so.
Afterwards, the news crew of Myanmar News Agency (External) interviewed Mr. Daniel Zonshine, ambassador of Israel to Myanmar.
Q: Is there any future program for economic cooperation and exchange visits between Myanmar and Israel?
A: There is a plan for Israeli Minister of Agriculture to visit Myanmar in January, and Israeli senior officials and businessmen are going to follow suit. Last month, an agreement on protection of investment was signed between Myanmar and Israel, making it possible for more Israeli companies to take interest to come and extensively invest in Myanmar. We are committed to more frequently visits not only between senior officials but between those from business fields and other sectors.
Q: At a time when Israel and Myanmar are in the process of further strengthening friendly ties, we strongly believe that your arrival as a newly credited ambassador to Myanmar will bring fruitful outcomes to our country. How about that opinion?
A: My arrival here is to put Myanmar on the agenda of Israel as well as to promote investment and support reforms being lunched in the country. Not like other countries that discovered Myanmar just recently, Israel has long and lasting friendly relations with your country. With friendly ties already in place, we are sure that cooperation between the two countries will be further promoted all the more.
Interviewer: Dr Tha Sein