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A 36-hour preliminary requalification exercise in accordance with INSARAG standards has been launched

15:45 / 25.04.2022

On April 25, Minister of Emergency Situations Armen Pambukhchyan received a delegation of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation headed by David Sochor, Head of Rapid Response for Humanitarian Aid.

The meeting was also attended by German Walter from the Humanitarian Aid Logistics Department of the SDC Agency, members of the Special Group of the Agency’s Humanitarian Aid Alessio Marazza and Fabien Valterio, and Deputy Director of the Rescue Service of MES Hovhannes Yemishyan.

The delegation arrived in Yerevan to take part in the UN INSARAG requalification exercise of the Armenian Urban Search and Rescue Team scheduled for April 26-27, which will give an opportunity to test the correspondence of the capacities of the rescue divisions of Armenia with the international standards and on the basis of which the requalification of Armenian urban search and rescue team (COP) occurring on September 1-4 in 2022.

Greeting the guests, the Minister of Emergency Situations reminded that the cooperation between MES and SDC Agency had started in 2005 and a number of programs had been implemented, including the projects "Response: Medical Units” and "Establishing Territorial Rapid Response Teams". Due to them, five internal territorial rapid response teams were established in Yerevan, in Shirak, Syunik, Lori and Tavush Provinces in accordance with the international search and rescue standards.
"We would like to continue this cooperation as far as possible with various project formats. We hope, that we will be able to establish new teams in the future," emphasized A. Pambukhchyan.

The Minister thanked the members of the delegation for their mentoring activities and advice to the MES team, as well as for supporting the participation of the representatives of the Armenian COP team in the re-qualification process of the COP team in Switzerland in November 2021.

"As it is known, our team will participate in a simulation exercise in Switzerland in June, this year," said the Minister, emphasizing that the 36-hour field training for the first initial requalification of the team is extremely important for the Department, as it would ensure the successful process of the re-qualification of the Armenian COP team corresponding to the INSARAG standards occurring in September and would give a chance to increase the preparedness level of the team. At the same time, the Minister assured that in case of reporting any shortcomings, they would have been fully corrected by September.

David Sochor in his turn, thanked for the welcome. He referred to the exercise held in Armenia in 2019 and noted that they were impressed with the results.

"We fully trust the Armenian side, and that trust is the result of cooperation. We hope that our observations will be taken into account during this exercise, as well" he said.

According to D. Sochor, they have high expectations from the event, which is to be held in September.

Besides, the members of SDC Agency had a private conversation with the Deputy Director of the Rescue Service Hovhannes Yemishyan and discussed the mechanisms for the upcoming activities.

The guests had a walk in the Crisis Management National Center and visited the Medical Insurance Department of the Rescue Service of MES.

Let us note that INSARAG is a global network, which unites more than 80 countries and organizations under the United Nations umbrella. It was founded in 1991, after the two greatest earthquakes at the end of the century: 1985 in Mexico and 1988 in Spitak, and aimed at increasing the efficiency of search and rescue operations. In September 2015, the Armenian COP team passed the external qualification exam and became a full member of the UN International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG).
 

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