Training to make National Societies more resilient to future shocks

تم النشر: 3 مايو 2013 16:03 CET

By Benoit Matsha-Carpentier, in Australia

Over recent years, increasing numbers of people are being affected by the disasters in high-income countries. The continued growth in population, increasing urbanisation and changes in weather associated with climate change all contribute to this trend.

Many high-income countries are finding they have a more vulnerable population as the demographic changes and elderly people become an increasing percentage of their population.

As one of the major players in the humanitarian emergency response, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has developed the Field Assessment Coordination Tool (FACT) which calls of the skills and experience of Red Cross Red Crescent disaster managers to support National Societies and IFRC field offices to respond effectively to disasters.

FACT team members have technical expertise in relief, logistics, health, nutrition, public health and epidemiology, psychological support, water and sanitation, finance and administration, as well as language capabilities. The operation is on standby and can be deployed anywhere in the world within 12-24 hours, for up to four weeks.

Created in 2000, FACT ensures sufficient support to National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies during the emergency phase of a response operation, allowing operations to begin – in concert with Emergency Response Units – while longer-term support is mobilized.

In order to be better prepare for a potential disaster in a high-income country, the IFRC has recently conducted a training session in Australia in Queensland State. The aim of the training was to create a scenario in a disaster prone area and ask the trainees to come out with a coherent comprehensive plan of action, which could take on board all the components and constraints of working in a high-income country.

After two weeks of training, divided in classroom and field phases, two robust plans of action were produced and presented to the local authorities and other disaster management stakeholders. Both plans were adopted by all parties and will be part of the long-term disaster planning discussions.

This 21st FACT training session was the first of a kind as for the first time, a complete scenario had to be created around real events. The outputs of the training will be used as guidance and reference for any future emergency situation and also to anticipate the needs and the future responses for Red Cross Red Crescent societies across the world.