On behalf of Ambassador Manuel Bessler, INSARAG Global Chair, I would like to sincerely thank you for your participation in the third INSARAG Global Meeting (IGM) on 6 October 2021. The meeting was a huge success, with people attending virtually from around the world.
I would also like to thank you for your feedback on the IGM Chairman’s Summary, which you will find attached in this email.
I am confident that the INSARAG network can count on your support as we prepare for the INSARAG New-Year Teleconference in January 2022 and the INSARAG Steering Group Meeting in May 2022.
I look forward to continuing to work with you.
Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, Chief Emergency Response Section and Secretary of INSARAG
The German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) is supporting the Iraqi Government in the implementation of the INSARAG First Responder Training (FRT) in Iraq. The FRT in Iraq is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
From 8 – 10 November, an INSARAG FRT for new trainers was held in Erbil (Iraq) with 22 participants. Prior to this face-to-face training in Iraq, the 22 participants took part in two digital FRT sessions in the winter of 2020 and in the spring of 2021, which covered the theoretical knowledge of the training.
To complement this, THW organized a full FRT course in early November 2021. Three local trainers from northern Iraq that participated in the 2019 FRT course organized by THW in Germany, were now, two years later, the leading trainers in Erbil. Participants included people active in the local community, employees of government organizations such as employees of the Iraqi Civil Defense, the local disaster management agency, and the police.
So far, the 40 local trainers that were trained in the Training of Trainers FRT in Germany 2019 have trained over 2.000 first responders. Without the COVID 19 related restrictions, this number would have been much larger. Iraq is now one of the few countries in the world that is using the FRT for resilience building.
Last week the INSARAG Asia-Pacific International Earthquake Response Exercise (IERE) named as “SIMEX China 2021”, hosted by China and strongly supported by the Asia-Pacific Chair Indonesia, Member States, and relevant partners and organizations, took place virtually for 3 days, from the 24 November to 26 November.
The Asia-Pacific Region is one of the most disaster-prone areas in the world. For this reason, this IERE was essential for the regional group to review its response capacities. This online event provided a platform through which participants practiced international coordination of Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs),INSARAG and UNDAC, reflecting the emergency response coordination system of China.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the “SIMEX China 2021” was a great success with participants from over 30 countries and 4 different international organizations, connecting from all over the world.
After several years of work, involving the entire French USAR community under the coordination of the French General Directorate for Civil Protection and Crisis Management/Office of Doctrine, Training and Equipment, the new national USAR doctrine was published in September 2021. This doctrine is complemented by the national operational and technical guidelines for all French USAR responders: from first responders to regional, national and international teams. As France had committed to, in the context of the INSARAG recognition of its national accreditation process in July 2017, all INSARAG standards have been integrated into these new national guidelines which are now a reference for all USAR operations on the French territory (including overseas) and allowing, if necessary, a perfect coordination with possible international USAR teams requested to assist in France.
These guidelines in French are available following the links below, (it will be translated to English soon):
Sub-WG A Global Position composed of 2 Co-Chair and 16 members, will develop a global INSARAG position on Flexible (Operational) Response, based on the drafted Regional Position Papers on this topic in 2020. The scope of the global position on Flexible Response can also encompass the response beyond collapsed structures and earthquakes, as some regions have already implemented this successfully.
Sub-WG C Response to Cultural Heritage composed of 2 Co-Chairs and 9 members, will review the draft UNESCO Guidelines on Response to Cultural Heritage and draft an INSARAG Technical Guidance Note on “INSARAG’s Response to Cultural Heritage Sites”.
In the last few years, humanitarian emergencies have been strongly impacted by climate change. Additionally, due to the challenges imposed by the pandemic, the humanitarian landscape has become even more complex. Therefore, there have been increasing discussions on ways to effectively deploy INSARAG teams in disasters beyond those strictly involving collapsed structures. Those events can often be caused by hydrometeorological and climatological reasons which could make INSARAG teams’ skills extremely relevant, such as specialized capacities for water rescue and flood disaster response.
Given the significant resources and costs associated with the establishment and maintenance of certified USAR teams as well as of their deployments, it is reasonable to explore ways on how to best maximize these professional life-saving resources of USAR teams under the INSARAG’s umbrella, and through global consultations with the three regional groups of INSARAG.
INSARAG has proved to remain flexible and effective despite the challenges of the pandemic and amidst a complex humanitarian environment. The FRWG will aim to contribute to the INSARAG network to continue being relevant and nimble despite the new challenges. The INSARAG network will be strengthened as a result of the review and further development of the Flexible Response concept, the strengthening of teams’ deployments in the BtR phase including the DACC concept and INSARAG’s role in response to affected areas where cultural heritage sites exist.
The FRWG is composed of three Sub-Working Groups with respective assignments:
Sub-WG A Global Position with 19 members, will develop a global INSARAG position on Flexible (Operational) Response, based on the drafted Regional Position Papers on this topic in 2020. The scope of the global position on Flexible Response can also encompass the response beyond collapsed structures and earthquakes, as some regions have already implemented this successfully.
Sub-WG B Disasters Assessment Coordination Center (DACC) with 22, members will develop the Damage Assessment Coordination Centre (DACC) guidelines and methodology.
Sub-WG C Cultural Heritage with 10 members, will review the draft UNESCO Guidelines on Response to Cultural Heritage and draft an INSARAG Technical Guidance Note on “INSARAG’s Response to Cultural Heritage Sites”.