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Turkey hosted the 24th AEME Regional Earthquake exercise as part of its commitment to the INSARAG regional group work plan, and as part of its national efforts to prepare the country for a response to major disasters requiring international assistance. The profile of the exercise was raised during the high-level visit by the Governor of Istanbul.

The event took place from 9 to 12 May and included 111 international participants from 20 countries, as well as 220 Turkish nationals (including USAR and AFAD staff). A total of 50 participants from 15 international Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams participated in this exercise, in addition to 15 participants from Emergency Medical Teams. UNDAC and EU Civil Protection teams participated in the exercise, as did technical partners such as the DHL and MapAction.

While OCHA’s Emergency Services Branch organized the exercise, it received significant support from the Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa and the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Turkey. The Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team actively participated in the exercise. The overall feedback received from the participants was positive, with many having stated that it was a very useful platform to practice international coordination methodology, as it provided a realistic earthquake scenario and engaged relevant authorities.