Updated: 30-May-2003 April 2003

28-30 April 2003


Disaster response put to the test in Ferghana

Official website
Highlights, situation reports and high resolution photos of the exercise available here.

Civil emergency teams from over 19 countries, both participants and observers, fought flooding, fires, and sifted through rubble to rescue victims during a NATO-led exercise held in the Ferghana Valley in Uzbekistan, 28-30 April 2003.

Over 1,000 specialized personnel were involved in the exercise - Ferghana 2003 - which simulated an international response to a devastating earthquake striking the Ferghana Valley region of Uzbekistan.

This was the first NATO-led disaster response exercise to be held in Central Asia.

A formidable challenge

The two-day scenario was intense, with teams having to attend to large number of casualties, rescue trapped individuals and secure damaged facilities on five separate sites. Despite the difficulties, all teams successfully completed their tasks.

“ We might have made some mistakes, but this is only an exercise. And this is what exercises are for: to make mistakes but not to repeat them the day we are confronted with a real disaster situation,” said one of the team leaders.

Partnership and cooperation

The exercise is part of the Alliance’s Partnership for Peace programme of cooperation between NATO and partner countries.

Civil emergency cooperation is a key aspect of the programme and each year NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre organizes exercises to practice disaster relief procedures. This year’s exercise was hosted by Uzbekistan, as part of its contribution to Partnership for Peace.

One of the highlights of the exercise was the participation of teams from the neighbouring countries - Kazakhstan and the Kyrghyz Republic - as well as personnel from the United Nations.

Additional information:

  • Exercise Web site - Highlights, situation reports and high resolution photos of the exercise