|Last update: 02-Jun-2004 18:47||NATO Update|
Improving responses to disasters
Over 100 civil emergency experts from 34 NATO and partner countries met in Dubrovnik, Croatia, 24 to 26 May, to discuss lessons learned from NATO-coordinated disaster response operations and exercises.
Since 1998, NATO and partner countries have been working together to provide swift responses to natural and man-made disasters through the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC).
Building on past experience
The Centre has coordinated responses in more than fifteen emergencies, including fighting floods, forest fires and dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes.
It has also organised major exercises to rehearse responses to such potential threats as a large-scale ‘dirty bomb’ by terrorists, landslides and earthquakes.
Participants discussed lessons learned and ideas for further developing the Centre’s capabilities, particularly in the face of new threats such as disasters involving chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Another main theme was improving coordination with other international organisations, as well as between the Centre, capitals and the stricken nation in times of emergency.
“The seminar gave us honest feedback as to how we have conducted operations and exercises in the last six years,” said Mr. Stephen C. Orosz, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Civil Emergency Planning and Exercises, “Concrete ideas for the future were put forward, including developing a multi-year exercise programme to train specific responses, improving the public information component of our exercises. These will now be discussed by nations.”