Joint earthquake simulation between the UN DMT and NDMO held in KermanOct 23, 2013
13th October every year is celebrated by the UN members as the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR).
Every year, however, the Islamic Republic of Iran commemorates the event with a full week of activities known as “The National Week for Natural Disasters’ Reduction”.
The fact that Iran is located in a hazardous geographical area – prone to many disasters – including earthquakes coupled with the importance which Iran attaches to the disaster risk reduction – has been the main driver in nominating a full week for activities.
These activities include conducting earthquake evacuation drills in the schools, implementing provincial response programmes and advocating disaster awareness with the media.
In February 2013, the UN Country Team approved the DMT workplan for the year 2013 in which a joint earthquake simulation was planned.
After consulting with the government and the National Disaster Management Organization (NDMO) it was decided to hold the simulation in October 2013 as part of the national week commemorations.
This first-ever joint Government-UN simulation in Iran was inaugurated by the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr.Gary Lewis and Kerman Governor General, Mr. Esmaeil Najjar via teleconference simultaneously in Kerman and Tehran at 08:00 hrs of Saturday 12th October 2013.
A number of UN agency heads and members of the UN Disaster Management Team as well as representatives of international NGOs (like Medecins Sans Frontiers) and business partners (like DHL) participated in the simulation in Tehran.
In Kerman city, UN Cluster focal points, the central NDMO representatives, the provincial earthquake working group members and five Auxiliary NDMO representatives – neighbouring provinces to Kerman – were present in the simulation event. An evacuation drill was also conducted during the simulation that took a whole working day from 09:00 hrs to 17:00 hrs.
Based on the scenario an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richer Scale struck Iran’s southeastern province of Kerman at 05:00 a.m. local time. The earthquake then triggered a request by the Government from the UN to dispatch United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination and facilitate the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group teams’ arrival to the country.
The second day of the event, 13th October 2013 was allocated to debriefing and lessons learnt, weaknesses and strengths of the joint event that led to a series of conclusions as to how strengthen preparedness and response capacities at national level.