Earthquake Safe Communities in Nepal

Regional Courses on Medical First Responder (MFR) and Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue (CSSR) held in Nepal

A series of regional courses on Medical First Responder (MFR) and Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue (CSSR) has been concluded in Nepal producing trained graduates from South Asian Countries. National Society for Earthquake Technology – Nepal (NSET) and Armed Police Force, Nepal (APF) jointly organized the course under the USAID/OFDA supported "Program for Enhancement of Emergency Response (PEER)". The successful graduates got awarded with “Certificate of Completion” in the Closing program held in Kathmandu on July 6, 2019. Addressing the Closing program, Home Secretary Mr. Prem Kumar Rai emphasized on the need to enhance regional collaboration in view of responding to mega disaster emergencies. Secretary Rai remarked, "such regional training courses not only help in building national capacity of target countries but also contribute to enhance collaboration among the key response agencies in the region". He also appreciated the US Government, NSET and partnering agencies for this effort.

A 13-day course on “Medical First Responder (MFR)” was conducted during June 12-24, 2019 in Disaster Management Training School of Armed Police Force, Nepal (APF/DMTS) at Kurintar, Nepal. The participants were from Government Offices and National Security Agencies of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Nepal. After that, another 8-day course on “Collapsed Search and Rescue (CSSR)” was conducted during June 28 – July 5, 2019, where the participants from Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Nepal continued. The Group of Instructors was comprised of experts from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. From USAID Nepal, Acting Mission Director Mr. Mark Driver expressed happiness to see PEER courses contributing to enhance national response capacity in the region. Mr. Driver stated, "since 1998, USAID/OFDA has been supporting these PEER courses with the focus to increase the regional instructors and rescuers who can play significant role to extricate and save victims during disasters. Through PEER we are creating chances to make sure that we are ready for tomorrow."

Inspector General of Armed Police Force Nepal, Mr. Shailendra Khanal remarked, "security forces are the first line rescuers and such uniform understanding in the rescue process throughout the region will surely work as the common language between the rescuers within and outside the South Asian region." IG Mr. Khanal acknowledged the support of Nepal Government, USAID/OFDA and NSET and thanked the governments of target countries for sending their representatives to participate in these courses.

In his remarks, NSET Executive Director Mr. Surya Narayan Shrestha highlighted two main aspects, firstly, PEER is the program which is here to enhance the capacity and the collaboration in the same time among the neighboring countries; and secondly, PEER is instrumental in collaboration among the rescue agencies both within and outside the countries in the region. Mr. Shrestha hoped this collaboration to extend soon in the new targeted countries; Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

On the occasion, Course Monitors and Course Coordinators had presented their Course Reports. Course Monitor for MFR, Dr. Kulesh Thapa expressed his happiness to lead the team of highly dedicated and experienced instructors and equally enthusiastic and willing participants. Dr. Thapa was amazed with the potential of the participants as they were so much knowledgeable yet humble. He added, only because of the extreme hot weather there were some inconveniences, however these issues were handed carefully and promptly by the management.

Course Monitor for CSSR Mr. Arjun Timilsina, Deputy Superintendent of Nepal Police; proudly stated that the course was up to the standard without any deviation. As the main objective of CSSR is to reach to the victim, to extricate the trapped victims, without worsening the victim’s condition, Mr. Timilsina felt that all of this objectives were met as the participants had demonstrated all these skills in the final evaluation exercises.

Course Coordinator for MFR, Mr. Amvika Prashad Joshi, Deputy Superintendent of Armed Police Force, Nepal; was pleased to inform the successful completion of the course along with which he mentioned the tireless effort of the instructors for making the course successful. Since this is the instructor’s development process, Mr. Joshi appreciated the participants for actively participating in the knowledge sharing with the positive attitude and he further encouraged the graduates to take challenge as their responsibilities.

Course Coordinator for CSSR, Mr. Naba Raj Tamag, Deputy Superintendent of Armed Police Force, Nepal; remarked; "still the perseverance from the participants was commendable". Mr. Tamang appreciated the efforts of APF/DMTS staff for working together with the instructors for making the course successful.

On behalf of the participants, Mr. K.P. Susantha Anura Amarakoon, Commandant, Colonel, Sri Lanka Army; appreciated the organizers as he believed that the task of conducting such regional trainings is not easy and further, he acknowledged NSET & APF for providing the every possible supports in making the training as well as their stay in Nepal, successful. Mr. Amarakoon thanked the team of instructors of the both the courses, MFR and CSSR for being dedicated in imparting knowledge by working for extra hours in before, during and after the class. He also thanked the staffs of APF/DMTS for their hospitality and service.

Initially, Deputy Chief of Party for PEER Ms. Meritess Tandingan had briefed on series of PEER Courses that has come along the long journey from its origin at Latin American region to the south Asian region in the present program countries covering India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. NSET is also pursuing to reach out to other countries in South Asia namely, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka for potential PEER expansion. She further explained, how PEER has transformed from stage I for regional perspective to national strategy in PEER stage II and to strengthening of institutionalization of PEER courses in stage III and IV.

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