Georgia to host NATO/EAPC disaster response exercise
Exercise Georgia – 2012 was a consequence management field exercise organized by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) in cooperation with the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Emergency Management Department (EMD). The exercise was held from 22 - 28 September in the vicinity of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
All together 1000 people (35 nations) participated in the exercise (450 international, 550 from Georgia, 50+ observers). Fourteen nations/organization participated with teams of different specialties like: CBRN, search and rescue, water rescue, fire fighting, medical support and technical assistance (Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Finland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, NATO (HU, SK, SN), Poland, Ukraine, United Nations, United States).
Another 13 participated with staff support (Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Germany, Israel, Johanniter Int’l (NGO), Latvia, Moldova, Norway, Romania, Sweden, United Kingdom) and 8 sent only observers (Albania, Egypt, France, ICRC, Netherlands, Slovenia, Switzerland).
The exercise was one of the biggest organized by the EADRCC. It proved to be a well-developed rigorous exercise that was carried out in a safe manner with no major injuries or casualties. It was well-designed, in that it promoted cooperation among responders from the participating nations.
As a part of the exercise observers programme a panel discussion on Protection of Cultural Heritage in Natural and Man-made Disasters was organised. The objectives of the panel discussion were to exchange information and best practices in disaster situations and more than 50 observers took part in that event.
Exercise “GEORGIA 2012” – Abbreviated draft scenario
- At 14:20 hrs on 20 September 2012 an earthquake hit a central part of Georgia. The Epicentre was located in Kvemo Kartli Region 35 km South of Tbilisi. The magnitude is estimated to have been 6,8 on the Magnitude Moment Scale. Tremors were felt in the capital Tbilisi and minor damages were observed.
- The closest town to the epicentre and the most densely populated urban area is Rustavi with a population of over 110.000 people. Of most concern is the fact that chemical plants and steel manufacturing factories are located in the town. Additionally an oil pipeline, railway and a major motorway are located in the vicinity.
- The EMD has sent teams of experts to all affected areas for assessment and coordination. A preliminary assessment of the extent of damages incurred reports that a complicated situation has arisen. First reports indicate severe destruction around the epicentre, 45 fatalities and over 530 injured with large areas still not assessed. The Rustavi chemical plant is damaged and a risk of fire and release of chemicals exists. Also the Georgia-Armenia electrified railway line is interrupted. In addition to confirmed damage to the motorway eyewitnesses report high waves on the lake with unknown effects. Municipal services of Rustavi report damage to the hospital, a major power failure, large disruption of communication and people from the surrounding areas seeking assistance.
- Municipal services have established a LEMA which is in contact with the central authorities. The LEMA has requested additional response forces as well as items are sent to the impacted areas.
- EMD rescue forces together with municipal and regional rescue services have started relief operations. However, considering the scale of the affected area and the strain on reserves, more resources are needed to cope with the disaster. The State Interministerial Commission of Georgia has tasked the MoIA EMD to initiate the process of requesting international assistance through the EADRCC and UN-OCHA.
- Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.