From 7 to 9 May, the Government of Colombia hosted the INSARAG Workshop on the proposal to elaborate a support and validation process for national Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team accreditation processes. The initial proposal is based on a recommendation from the INSARAG Americas Regional Group, brought to the INSARAG Steering Group, who in turn requested the Americas Regional Group to design the proposed process. During three days, 22 participants from 12 countries and OCHA discussed the following issues:
- The criteria and steps a national accreditation process should have;
- The type of recognition that national teams should obtain after having been accredited nationally;
- The process for supporting and validating the national USAR team accreditation process.
A large part of the workshop was also dedicated to:
- Reviewing and clarifying Annex C of Manual A, Volume II of the INSARAG Guidelines on the standards of national USAR teams (light, medium and heavy), as well as
- Agreeing to a set of documentation that National Disaster Management Authorities and national USAR teams should provide to prove the accomplishment of the INSARAG standards for national USAR teams.
The workshop participants will consolidate the proposal in the coming weeks to be shared and consulted with the INSARAG Americas Regional Group as well as the other Regional Groups and the wider INSARAG community.
From 11 to 13 May, the Unidad National de Gestión del Riesgo de Desastres (UNGRD) of the Colombian Government together with the INSARAG Secretariat organised the preparatory workshop for the Regional Earthquake Response Exercise – SIMEX – to be held in Bogotá, Colombia from 26 to 30 September. The workshop agreed on the overall agenda and adapted the details of the timelines for each of the functional groups expected to participate in the exercise. More than 400 participants will be expected to participate both as national and international participants. The scenario will be a major earthquake affecting the capital city of Bogotá, based on real projections of the existing risk in Colombia. In addition to the national disaster management structures leading the response, the Humanitarian Country Team will participate, as well as an UNDAC team, and several Urban Search and Rescue teams as well as Emergency Medical Teams. Workshop participants agreed on a detailed work plan for the remaining preparations for the SIMEX. Invitations are expected to be sent out by the INSARAG Secretariat in the coming weeks.