What to do if a disaster strikes? A EU funded simulation exercise
How to deal with the consequences of an earthquake, flood, landslide? In a disaster relief situation, how do national authorities negotiate with international actors to maximize the response impact? In the last two days a simulation exercise has taken place in Baku, built on a scenario where a serious disaster caused by natural hazard had occurred on
the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan and led the Government to request international assistance. In reply to the request for international assistance, the arrival of rescue teams from several Union Civil Protection Mechanism Participating States has been simulated: national authorities had to deal with requests to facilitate their reception and deployment, as well as the dispatching of foreign aid. The exercise was conducted as part of the EU-funded Programme on Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Natural and Man-made Disasters in the Eastern Partnership Countries (PPRD East 2 Programme).
At the event - hosted on 24-25 February by the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the ADA University in Baku - were present Ambassador Malena Mard, Head of the EU Delegation, as well as Faig Taghizade, Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations. The exercise was attended by experts from the Ministry of Emergency Situations, from the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Defence, Health, Foreign Affairs, and the State Border Service and State Customs Committee as well as from other governmental and non-governmental entities. The exercise tested Azerbaijan's arrangements for effective reception and deployment of international relief teams -
the Host Nation Support (HNS) concept, and identified areas for improvement, so that - should the need ever arise - emergency assistance from the European Union could be received effectively and efficiently. Simulating negotiations and coordination meetings, the participants were faced with requests of different sorts, like assistance in border
crossing, customs clearance, allocation of space for establishment of camps, provision of fuel, escort to disaster affected areas and security. Above all, the purpose of the exercise was to enhance inter-institutional and inter- Ministerial cooperation with regards to requesting civil protection assistance, and in accordance to the EU HNS Guidelines.