What happened in Sočanica last Thursday?

Nov 23, 2017

STORY WITH PHOTOS

Thursday, 16 November 2017, 10:30

A group of citizens, most of them vulnerable young girls and old women, gathered at the Cultural Centre where traditional costumes and locally prepared dishes are displayed. While some primary school students with their teachers are waiting for vaccination in front of the local clinic, the rainy weather accompanied by thunder and lightning is getting intense, striking the village Sočanica. As the weather conditions worsen, the situation deteriorates. The river in Sočanica is sweeping wildly blocking the roads and further threatening the settlement with potential flooding. At the Cultural Centre, seven old women faint and another thirty women and girls panic. To make things worse, the façade of the local clinic collapses injuring three teachers and five students. As the situation worsens, students become traumatized and scared. Moreover, two children are missing and it is feared that they have ran to the eastern part of Sočanica which is already hit by flooding. Another two persons are seriously injured at the entrance of the village due to a traffic accident.

Meanwhile, representatives from municipal authorities, local community members, emergency services, local business companies as well as NGOs are gathered in the building of the Local Community in Sočanica in the municipality of Leposaviq/ć, to discuss how to best respond to this catastrophic emergency situation. They need to decide who will be prioritized for rescue operations through communication with decision makers, first respondents, firefighters, police and the team of emergency health care. During the consultations, they realize that they are lacking human capacities and do not have sufficient number of ambulances and emergency response equipment. It is also unclear whether there are some trained citizens for emergency responses. To make the situation even more dire, the risk assessment plan hasn’t been approved yet, in addition to the absence of prevention action plans, and documents for coordination with institutions and cooperation between neighbouring municipalities.

Fortunately, at the end, all victims were rescued and they are feeling well now.

How is this possible? These are only scenarios prepared for the top table drill that was conducted last Thursday in Sočanica village to identify gaps in human, technical, and institutional capacities in case of emergency situations.

The drill was concluded with following recommendations:

  • Strengthen the cooperation between local and central authorities to ensure human and technical capacities,
  • Organize emergency response training,
  • Continue drills with community,
  • Finalize risk assessment plan for the Leposaviq/ć municipality,
  • Create an emergency response plan,
  • Create a plan for coordination among stakeholders, and
  • Create an action plan for an inter-municipal cooperation.

The drill was organized by the Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the municipality of Leposaviq/ć, local NGO Domovik from Mitrovica North and supported by the United Nations Development Programme Kosovo as a part of the project ‘Kosovo Disaster Risk Reduction Initiative (KDRRI2)’.

 

 

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