The Directorate of Civil Protection (CPD) of the Ministry of the Interior and local authorities, together with various government authorities and with the collaboration of partner organizations, carried out on August 2 and 3, a national hydro meteorological simulation exercise (SIMEX) to assess the level of preparedness of civil protection structures and their ability to respond to emergencies or disasters. UNICEF has been actively involved in this SIMEX as a partner and co-lead agency in four key sectors (WASH, Education, Nutrition and Child Protection) and as an evaluator.
Cayes, 23 August, 2018-This year, the exercises focused on the simulation of the passage of hurricane Peter category 4, particularly in the South of the country. The SIMEX took place on several sites in the departments of Nippes, South. Marine search and rescue actions were carried out in the eastern channel (Cayes and Ile-à-Vache), also simulating the evacuation of the survivors to the mainland.
One of the objectives of Simex in the South, was to assess the departmental coordination capacity of this region and the civil protection structures of Les Cayes and Ile-à-Vache, to jointly manage an emergency and to assist victims.
All major government structures involved were put in motion; the National Police of Haiti (PNH), the Corps of firefighters, the National Ambulance Center, municipalities, local authorities, among others. The Haitian Red Cross was also present during this exercise.
Consider the lessons learned
Boutin Pierre-Marie, operational support officer at the DPC at the southern level, explains that the Simex has been planned in concert with the city of Les Cayes and the central coordination. The simulation was based on the search for some thirty victims of a shipwreck and in distress on the high seas.
“The volunteer brigadiers of the Civil Protection had the role of triage the victims, put them on a stretcher, putting them in a meeting point. There, the members of the Red Cross took care of the victims. This simulation will allow us to discover our strengths and weaknesses in our interventions, “he said.
For his part, agronomist Joseph Felix, National Coordinator of Response for CPD, emphasized that this year they have changed their theme, coming out of the traditional issue of temporary shelter, or flooding to focus on rescue and search at sea.
“The balance sheet of Simex is very satisfying, considering that it is a new experience. I cannot say that there were no mistakes, because the purpose of a simulation is to track down what is wrong and correct it. In the next Simex, we want to give another dimension to the exercise, “he said.
UNICEF a key partner in emergency situation
Jean Stenio Pierre, head of the UNICEF Cayes sub-office, one of the SIMEX evaluators, emphasized the strengths of SIMEX: the good coordination at the Departmental Emergency Operation Center (COUD) and the SIMEX management team, the good presence of non-state actors and good representation of UN agencies present in the South (UNFPA-OIM-WFP-UNICEF-OCHA etc …); the good results of Simulation on the Wharf.
“We have to consider what has not worked well to make good decisions in the context of risk management. UNICEF supports the government across the country in disaster risk management, preparedness and response to emergencies. We congratulate all the actors of this Simex, “he said.