Beyond the conflict, Beyond the risk: A mock drill in the Suhodoll/Suvi Do, South MitrovicaNov 6, 2017
Earthquake, flooding, landslide, transport and industrial accidents... All kinds of natural and human-made disasters happen in a fleeting moment. Nowadays, for us, those who are exposed to unexpected incidents all the time, knowing what type of disaster is prone to our surroundings, and becoming adapted to and capable of managing disaster situations is essential. In this line of thinking, a mock drill, as a part of the project ‘Confidence Building through Disaster Risk Reduction in northern Kosovo’ took place last Friday on 27 October at the Artificial lake in the Suhodoll/Suvi Do, South Mitrovica.
Mr. Musa Dragaj, the director of the Directorate for Protection and Rescue in the municipality of South Mitrovica, congratulated the event, saying “I believe today’s event will deepen our cooperation between local authorities and civil society, and further will result in a better coordination between local and central institutions by fostering our communications.”
The event was held with the support of the Emergency Management Agency (EMA) belonging to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Kosovo. In this one-day drill, equipment and tools were finally handed over by UNDP Kosovo to the EMA and the municipality of Zvečan. In case of water pumps, it can play a significant role when flooding takes place, by sucking not only a big amount of water, but also dirt and mud simultaneously.
Other than testing tools and equipment, and simulating emergency situations, the drill has more meanings in fact. By gathering both local authorities from the northern municipalities of Kosovo which the Serb-majority municipalities are distributed and central institutions/authorities from not only Prishtinë/Priština but also the municipality of South Mitrovica, the event encouraged the process of building trust and confidence on dealing with risk situations beyond the conflict.
With the announcement of the agenda by Mr. Hajriz Sejdiu, the director of the Department of Emergency Preparedness, EMA, testing equipment, including boats and water pumps has been conducted by the Kosovo Specialized Unit for Search and Rescue, Units for Firefighting and Rescue in the municipality of Zvečan and Mitrovica South, and a diving club ‘Trepça’ which is an also Non-Governmental Organization run on a voluntary basis. As a newly established unit in the municipality of Zvečan two years ago, Mr. Vladan Radomirović, Commander of the Unit explained that most of the tools in the unit have been equipped with the support of the UNDP Kosovo. In this regard, Mr. Sejdiu described, “We would like to send our warm regards to the UNDP Kosovo in terms of supporting our requests and needs we have”
Testing boats and water pumps was followed by Trepça’s diving simulation of lifesaving. After successfully completing a drill, Mr. Kushtrim Uka, the director of Trepça, mentioned, “Today’s test was quite good as I could see clear water. In many cases, it is more difficult to rescue people since water is full of dirt disturbing my eyesight.” In the field of disaster risk reduction, Trepça has been engaged with rescue activities particularly when the summer seasons come and during the weekend.
At the end of the event, we could meet two boys passing by the river side, Aldin Shabani (9) and Islam Peci (10). As a part of the project, along the riverside, there are a few signs standing which show the depth of the river preventing people from doing careless behaviors. Smiling at us, two boys told us, “We need more warning signs!”.
As a coordination body of the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Kosovo, the Emergency Management Agency (EMA) works closely with UNDP Kosovo. The UNDP Kosovo has extensively engaged in the field of DRR through various projects, including the Disaster Resilience Initiative Support for Kosovo (D-Risk) and the Kosovo Disaster Risk Reduction Initiative (KDRRI) I and II, with the generous funding sources from the Japanese government and the UNDP Bureau for Programme and Policy Support, Funding Window.