UNIFIL and Lebanese Civil Defence boost skills on action in crisis

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23 Jul 2019

UNIFIL and Lebanese Civil Defence boost skills on action in crisis

Three Lebanese Civil Defence officers along with two Spanish UNIFIL peacekeepers took immediate action to rescue a man stuck inside a car after an accident. The body of the vehicle was badly damaged and the team realized that opening the door to rescue the man would have been impossible. By using the most appropriate tools, ensuring close coordination between the teams, and high level of professionalism, they succeeded in cutting the body of the vehicle and rescued the “victim” of the "accident."

This was only one of the many scenarios carried out in a 13-day training exercise between Lebanese Civil Defence and UNIFIL’s Spanish Battalion in Sector East.

From 13 to 24 June 2019, UNIFIL’s Sector East Headquarter hosted an expert team from the Spanish Military Emergency Unit who trained 80 Lebanese Civil Defence volunteers, including five women, coming from Civil Defence centres in the Nabatieh Governorate. The 80 volunteers attended practical training modules in bushfire fighting, mountain rescue, emergency extrication from vehicles after accident, and urban search and rescue.

Hussein Faqih, Head of Civil Defence Centre in the Nabatieh Regional Centre, said, “These courses are essential to improve the capabilities of our volunteers and staff, so that they act in a proper manner. The training will help them to get the necessary knowledge on how to act in the field, whether during a forest fire as a primary task, or evacuating and pulling injured people from crashed cars as a secondary one. We have also trainings on mountain rescue and search under the rubble.”

Speaking on the coordination between UNIFIL and Lebanese Civil Defence, UNIFIL's Civil Affairs Officer, Ewa Turyk-Mazurek, explained that UNIFIL Civil Affairs cooperation with the Lebanese Civil Defence dates back to 2015, in Sector East.

“Since 2015, together with the Spanish military emergency unit experts, we have carried out a series of training courses for the volunteers of all the Civil Defence centres based in Nabatieh Governate.” She added, “The long-term objective of this initiative is to help building a protective environment by enhancing the capacities of the Governmental civil emergencies responders, but also to build a relationship between UNIFIL and those who are the first ones to respond to the crisis.”

Experience exchange is a key UNIFIL activity in building protective environment through enhancing capacities of Lebanese civil emergency responders.