EU MOLDEX 2017 brings together Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine for full-scale civil protection exercise
The first ever full-scale civil protection field exercise involving the six Eastern Partner countries concluded in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau on 21 September.
The four-day event was conducted in the framework of the EU-funded regional programme “Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Natural and Man-made Disasters in the Eastern Partnership Countries” (PPRD East 2) to train civil protection experts and teams on the international assistance procedures developed in the six countries with the help of the programme.
The exercise comes as the culmination of several years of efforts to approximate national legislation with current EU practices on civil protection.
EU MOLDEX 2017 was based on a scenario of three incidents happening in parallel (an earthquake causing the collapse of buildings, the breach of a dam causing flooding, and a traffic accident causing dangerous chemicals to be released into the atmosphere). To respond to these major emergencies, Moldova requested the assistance of its neighbouring countries and EU Member States through the EU Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) – exactly as it would have done in case of a real disaster.
The targeted assistance came promptly from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine through the coordination role of the ERCC.
More than 600 members of top national rescue teams and international observers took part in the exercise. In addition, teams and experts from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, the United Kingdom and Romania participated in the event.
“Recent emergencies, such as the forest fires in Europe and the hurricanes Irma and Jose, remind us that countries are not always able to face disasters alone,” said Julia Stewart-David, Head of Unit of the Civil Protection Policy Unit of the European Commission’s Directorate‑General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations. “Joint preparedness is crucial to ensure a timely and coordinated response.”
“EU MOLDEX 2017, as the first EU-funded simulation exercise in the region, is a concrete action to better prepare together,” she concluded.
The EU-funded PPRD East programme was designed to contribute to the peace, stability, security and prosperity of the EU’s Eastern Partner countries. It also aims to protect the environment, population, cultural heritage, resources and infrastructures of the region by strengthening the countries’ resilience, preparedness and response to human-made disasters and disasters caused by natural hazards.
Currently in its 2nd phase, the PPRD East programme facilitates the strengthening of disaster risk management capacities at national level in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, strengthens regional cooperation among the Partner Countries, and brings Partner Countries progressively closer to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.