DEMA contribution to African capacity building

Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) is tasked with the Danish national emergency preparedness and response. DEMA is a government agency under the Ministry of Defence.

In addition to training conscripts, DEMA performs a broad range of operational tasks at home and abroad including the following:

·         The agency has supervisory and consulting responsibilities pertaining to the municipal emergency services and other authorities.

·         DEMA coordinate emergency preparedness and response planning for the civilian sector, and carries out tasks related to this, which are not allocated to other ministries; For instance the development of methodology and exercise activities.

DEMA is responsible for issuing the directives which govern fire prevention, and emergency services preparedness, development and planning.

Furthermore, DEMA is responsible for both chemical and nuclear incident preparedness and response.

The Emergency Preparedness Act is the statutory basis for the activities of DEMA and the national rescue preparedness. Pursuant to section 1 of the Act, the principal objective of the national rescue preparedness is to prevent, mitigate and remedy human injury and damage to property and the environment resulting from accidents and disasters as well as from acts of war.

Section 3 of the Act allows for the deployment of emergency response units abroad in peacetime.

In addition to the Emergency Preparedness Act, political agreements govern DEMA’s responsibilities and the national emergency preparedness and response.

The most recent political agreement, valid for the period 2007-2010, prioritises Danish participation in international commitments. The agreement privides for the procurement of equipment, in order to strengthen future Danish disaster response. Similarly, participation in international civil protection cooperation has high priority. This commitment is demonstrated by the posting of a civil protection adviser to the EU civil protection mechanism in Brussels.

This posting also recognizes the fact that international cooperation plays an increasingly significant role in overall emergency work.

This applies to information-sharing, utilization of expertise in disaster prevention and planning, as well as the actual handling of specific incidents. This development ties in with DEMA’s vast experience in international emergency response, dating back to the severe flooding affecting the Netherlands in 1953.

DEMA contributes to the development of the framework for international civil protection cooperation in various international fora; such as the EU, NATO, the UN, the Nordic Council and the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

DEMA actively participates in the European Council’s Working Party on Civil Protection (PROCIV), in the European Commission’s Civil Protection Committee (CPC) and its subordinate expert groups. In addition, the Directors-General of the participating countries in the Community Civil Protection Mechanism (the mechanism) meet twice a year with the Commission.

DEMA is the national focal point for requests for assistance from countries affected by emergencies or disasters. Requests are typically facilitated by:

·         United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA)

·         The European Commission’s Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC)

·         NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination

·         Centre (EADRCC)

International operations may be initiated due to natural disasters, accidents, technological incidents as well as crisis management situations. In urgent situations, for instance search and rescue operations following an earthquake, DEMA’s emergency response teams can be ready for deployment within 12 hours, in accordance with international guidelines. DEMA’s contribution ranges from the dispatch of a single expert, a small team of specialists to large scale deployment of personnel and equipment.

DEMA often carries out international tasks in cooperation with other countries and organisations, particularly the EU, the UN, and NATO. In addition, DEMA is part of the informal International Humanitarian Partnership (IHP). IHP is an operational collaboration between Estonia, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Denmark. Each country provides expertise and equipment complementing each other, which combine to make up a modular response package.

DEMA contributes transportation, logistics, Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), HAZMAT equipment and communications. In addition DEMA’s mobile emergency hospital can be dispatched to earthquakes or other natural disasters within 24 hours.

Danish experts on permanent stand-by, able to deploy at a few hours’ notice, are available to the UN and others. They usually form part in an UNDAC (United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination) team, or provide other support for UN operations.

As part of Denmark’s international security cooperation (SIKSAM), DEMA is responsible for bilateral civil protection cooperation with the Balkan countries Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia. The aim is to improve the emergency preparedness and response capacity of the countries to a level corresponding to the EU member states. Denmark assist in the procurement of vehicles, IT equipment and other equipment and can defray costs connected to regional meetings, conferences and exercises. Denmark supports projects in Albania (measuring radioactivity in drinking water) and Bulgaria (development of a supportive programme for decision-making in case of the release of hazardous materials in urban areas).

DEMA’s colleges train both retained staff and volunteers in the Danish emergency services for international operations. The stated goal is that all personnel dispatched abroad have completed a basic international training course prior to deployment.

The curriculum encopasses several courses:

·         a course in international organisations and standards,

·         a course in personal safety in disaster situations,

·         and a number of specialist courses relevant to particular job requirements.

Furthermore, the national basic training programmes for conscripts also comprise relevant international courses and exercises.

DEMA’s international training programme is attended by other Danish public authorities and organisations e.g. the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as NGOs.

DEMA’s contribution to African capacity building

In the summer 2007 DEMA participated in the Royal Danish Defence College team on  a fact finding mission to Kenya. The objective of DEMA’s participation in the factfinding mission was to identify possible Danish tasks in the CEP (civil emergency planning) and civil protection fields.   

DEMA’s involvement in possible missions to Kenya/East came about during the Danish minister of defence visit to East African countries during early 2007. During a conference with representatives of the British forces in Kenya, as well as from DFID (Department For International Development), his attention was brought to the urgent need for a disaster management college catering to both Kenya and the neighbouring countries.

The trip was most enlightening for the DEMA team member, in terms of identifying areas where the particular expertise of DEMA might be utilized.

In Kenya the CEP responsibility comes under the auspices of the Presidency, including the pertinent legislation. The Kenyan military have been tasked with the CEP responsibility – this is undertaken by the Disaster Manager Centre, who coordinate all efforts; the actual performance leaves something to be desired, though. The presidency undertakes tsunami warning through national and local radio and television, and this has proven effective and timely on a number of occasions.

EASBRIG is actively endeavouring to strengthen their Disaster Management Component. This is brought about by the absence of the strategic level in CEP management in Kenya, as well as neighbouring countries.

Supporting the development of institutions furthering good governance, may also be considered a valid effort in and of itself. Positive developments in this area may rub off on Ethiopia, Sudan and other countries.

It is presently evident that violence connected to the recent elections is a major problem, but one not generally considered capable of unseating the Kenyan democracy as such.

The following conclusion was arrived at:

·         There is a need for establishing a Disaster management College, as well as generating a comprehensive curriculum for the college.  

·         All projects require strong oversight to avoid corruption. Project must have clearly stated objectives and Terms of Reference from the outset.

·         Legislation allocating the power to Declare an emergency must be put in place general catastrophe

·         EASBRIG must strengthen their ’Disaster Management Component’. , EASBRIG aims to expand their ”disaster preparedness” capabilities.

·         Kenya lacks the capacity to handle a major incident; this was particularly evident during the American embassy bombing. In the aftermath it was concluded that:

·         There is a lack of adequate equipment,

·         There is no access to highly trained USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) teams, most of the teams is under the umbrella of Kenyan Red Cross.

The Kenyan Red Cross perceives a need for upgrading the capabilities of their response units, on both the strategic and manual levels. Capacity building in this area is vital to Kenya’s future ability to respond adequately to man-made and natural disasters. 

The Kenyan Red Cross (KRC) is the largest, and best managed, disaster responder in the Country. KRC base their activities on a large number of volunteers trained to a useful standard. They are, however, lacking in USAR equipment and training.

DEMA’s possible contribution to future efforts in East Africa

It would be obvious for DEMA to support CIMIC efforts by supplying specialists within the CEP field. Their tasks may range from establishing disaster preparedness, to actual participation in water and sanitation operations. DEMA have achieved success in this in the Balkans within the SIKSAM framework. This particular expertise can be utilized to support a local Centre of Excellence in Civil Emergency Planning (CEP), irrespective of whether it is already in place or is established by Denmark, and irrespective of specifically which African country it takes place in. DEMA is able to second 1-2 specialists in CEP, relevant infrastructure and rehabilitation to a Centre of Excellence. Furthermore DEMA can provide the training of personnel attached to a centre of excellence or a disaster management college in Kenya.

Danish emergency planning is based on the basic tenet, that expertise and equipment are able to combine flexibly in a number of situations. This is referred to as “the modular concept”

The Danish Modular Concept

Medical support module

A lightweight medical facility capable, in terms of equipment and personnel, of stabilizing casualties and performing emergency procedures. DEMA can maintain the unit in the field ,with eight personnel, for one month. The module is intended primarily for supporting a USAR team during deployment.

Mobile offices equipped with wireless computer networks

DEMA operates and maintains the technical infrastructure. The offices can be supplemented with living quarters (including messing, showers and toilets) for the personnel occupying the facility. The module is self contained as regards water purification, power generation, POL storage etc. The module has previously proven its worth in Pakistan, in the aftermath of the Kashmir earthquake. The purpose of the module is to support assessment and management teams, in areas where communications and infrastructure have been destroyed.

Danish Emergency Mobile Hospital, with a capacity of 100 beds, specializing in orthopedic surgery

The hospital is self contained as regards water, power generation etc, and has previously deployed to Bosnia, India, Afghanistan and Indonesia. It is manned mainly by volunteers, and is attached to the volunteer centre at Hedehusene. The hospital would be ideally suited for CIMIC operations, particularly in view of the deplorable state of medical services throughout East Africa. Apart from the specialized orthopaedic capabilities, there is a considerable capacity in the outpatient department for more general ailments. In this configuration the hospital handled 71.000 patients during an eight month mission to Afghanistan. The hospital will also be able to assume the mantle of NCOME (Nearest Center of Medical Excellence). Operating in the general hospital role can be accomplished with comparatively minor adjustments.

Training support

This could be accomplished by travelling teams in support of the Centre of Excellence in whatever area proves relevant. Both rescue service instructors, academics or other specialists may prove relevant in this context.

PDF med originaludgaven af Militært Tidskrift hvor denne artikel er fra:

militaert_tidsskrift_137.aargang_nr.1_2008.pdf

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