What are the roles and tasks of national authorities when a country needs to ask for international assistance to support the national response mechanism to deal with the consequences of a major disaster (earthquake, floods, landslide, etc.)? How to ensure an effective reception, deployment and utilisation of international relief teams when they arrive to the country? On 24 and 25 February, a simulation exercise took place in Baku, built on a scenario where a serious disaster caused by a natural hazard had occurred on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan and led the Government to request international assistance. In reply to the request for international assistance, the arrival of rescue teams from several Union Civil Protection Mechanism Participating States has been simulated.
At the event – hosted by the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the ADA University in Baku – were present Ambassador Malena Mard, Head of the EU Delegation, as well as Faig Taghi-zade, Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations. Experts from the Ministry of Emergency Situations, from the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Defence, Health, Foreign Affairs, and the State Border Service and State Customs Committee as well as from other governmental and non-governmental entities supported by PPRD East 2 expert team tested Azerbaijan’s arrangements for requesting an international assistance, for effective reception and deployment of international relief teams – the Host Nation Support (HNS) concept.
Simulating negotiations and coordination meetings, the participants faced requests of different sorts, like provision of assistance in border crossing, customs clearance, allocation of space for establishment of camps, provision of fuel, escort to disaster affected areas and security. Above all, the purpose of the exercise was to identify areas for improvement, to enhance the inter-institutional and inter-Ministerial cooperation with regards to requesting civil protection assistance in accordance to the EU HNS Guidelines, so that – should the need ever arise – emergency assistance from the Union Civil Protection Mechanism could be received effectively and efficiently.