Earthquake Safe Communities in Nepal

Home Minister inaugurates Regional Courses on Advanced Search and Rescue; Officials from South Asian countries participating

Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa "Badal" has inaugurated a series of regional courses on advanced search and rescue. A 13-day course on "Medical First Responder (MFR)" started on June 12, 2019 in Disaster Management Training School of Armed Police Force, Nepal at Kurintar, Chitwan, Nepal. After this, another 8-day course on "Collapsed Search and Rescue (CSSR)" will follow. There are total 24 participants from Government Offices and National Security Agencies of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Nepal whereas instructors are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Addressing the inaugural session, Home Minister Thapa highlighted the importance of enhancing national response capacity in view of disaster emergencies. "The professional trainings are the key to uplift skills and knowledge of the security forces as they are the first line responders in any type of disasters" he remarked. Home Minister Thapa appreciated NSET for providing number of trainings to the security forces which had huge impact in the responder development process. "This impact was significantly observed during the response of 2015 Gorkha Earthquake by all three forces, Nepali Army, Armed Police Force and Nepal Police", he added.

Home Minister Thapa further mentioned, "this era is of the global village and no country can run smoothly without the support of other countries, and hence such type of collaboration and cooperation will help is building mutual assistance during disasters and beyond." The courses are being organized by National Society for Earthquake Technology - Nepal (NSET) under "Program for Enhancement of Emergency Response (PEER)" funded by USAID/OFDA. NSET is implementing PEER Stage 4 during 2014-2019 in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Inclusion of other South Asian countries; Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka into the PEER process is also being explored and therefore this can be considered as the introductory course for the participants from those countries.

NSET Executive Director Surya Narayan Shrestha briefed history of PEER and its contribution in the PEER partner countries. Mr. Shrestha remarked, "during disasters, the neighboring countries are the first to assist in responding the situation; and if rescue language is similar the rescue process becomes much effective. There is no doubt that the PEER program takes the credit in providing the standard courses for our region." He acknowledged USAID/OFDA for continued support provided to the region in enhancing emergency response capacity.

Inspector General of Armed Police Force Shailendra Khanal extended happiness to hosting the course in the Disaster Management Training School (APF/DMTS) where APF has developed training facilities as per the PEER standard. The main building has been names as "PEER Building". IG Khanal remarked, "considering the disaster profile of Nepal, such courses are very much helpful in building national and local capacity. APF is inducting part of these courses also in regular courses so that APF officials can contribute better in disaster situations.

To begin with, Commandant of Disaster Management Training School (APF/DMTS) Senior Superintendent of Armed Police Force Kishor Pradhan welcomed all the participants, instructors and the guests in APF/DMTS. Highlighting the achievement of DMTS Commandant Pradhan mentioned about the accomplishments of APF/DMTS. "This school has produced more than 2000 trained responders to help in disaster situations" he mentioned. The inaugural session was graced by senior government officials, senior officers from APF, Nepali Army, Nepal Police; and representatives from USAID/OFDA and NSET.

The day had begun with a demonstration of the "Swift Water Rescue (Deep Diving)" by rescue squad at APF/DMTS in Trishuli River.

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