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14 May 2009

“Zhetysu 2009”

The Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Co-ordination Centre (EADRCC) organized a Consequence Management Field Exercise in cooperation with Kazakhstan, the host nation, which was conducted from the 5th until the 11th of September 2009.

The exercise “ZHETYSU 2009” was in accordance with the Civil Emergency Planning Exercise Policy and the Exercise Programme for 2009-2013. The exercise was a contribution by Kazakhstan to the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program. It was the ninth EADRCC field exercise and the first EADRCC exercise hosted by Kazakhstan.

The Final Planning Conference (FPC) for the exercise was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan on 16 July 2009. More than 90 representatives of 21 EAPC nations took part in the event. In addition, NATO Military Authorities (NMAs), UN OCHA Almaty Office, the Civil Protection Committee (CPC), the Joint Medical Committee (JMC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Kazakh Red Crescent, the German NGO (Johanniter International Assistance) and a private company Milsoft ICT Turkey were represented.

Numerous nations participated with the capabilities to deal with different aspects of emergencies, for example Search and Rescue teams, CBRN expertise, Directing Staff, as well as observers and assessors. “ZHETYSU” also allowed NATO and Partner countries to practice disaster response mechanisms and capabilities and to enhance co-operation in emergency situations.

The scenario

At 18.17 on 6 September 2009, in Almaty and Almaty Oblast, an earthquake occured. It measured 8.9 on the Richter scale at the epicentre, 100 km north of Almaty.

The towns of Almaty and Kapchagay were in the disaster zone. 

According to preliminary reports, more than 200,000 people were affected by the earthquake. Within the disaster zone, Almaty and Kapchagay were the worst hit.  Almaty and Kapchagay districts of Almaty Oblast were left without electricity or drinking water; telephone and mobile phone systems were knocked out, and motorway bridges suffered varying degrees of damage. Shock waves caused mudflows in the foothills. Damage to industrial installations caused chemical contamination of the environment. The runway at Almaty airport was damaged making it difficult for heavy-lift aircraft to land. 

The Government of Kazakhstan asked the international community for help.

The program for the exercise is set out as follows:


 The objectives of the exercise

There were five principal objectives to this exercise. The first, was to provide the opportunity to practice EADRCC procedures and EADRU capabilities in order to improve cooperation between EAPC nations during a consequence management operation. Secondly, it allowed Kazakhstan to strengthen its capabilities to receive international assistance and effectively organise and co-ordinate consequence management operations involving international rescue teams.

Thirdly, the participating international organisations were able to practice coordination and cooperation between each other. Fourthly, it facilitated regional cooperation between the various neighbouring countries and lastly, it served to train and practice the guidelines of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) for urban search and rescue teams (USAR).