NATO disaster response exercise kicks off in Finland
Exercise “UUSIMAA 2008”, a consequence management field exercise organised by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) started on 1 June 2008 in Finland.
According to the fictitious scenario, heavy thunderstorms hit the southern coast of Finland on June 1st, causing important damage to critical infrastructure. Ensuing flooding leads to water being contaminated by chemical and organic materials and the Finnish emergency rescue services are soon overwhelmed. In the meantime, public information networks break down, leading Finland to declare a State of Emergency and request assistance from the EADRCC.
Since the start of the exercise, around 1000 participants representing 25 NATO and partnership countries are assisting Finland in dealing with the consequences of flood and storms, as part of the scenario taking place along the coastline of the Gulf of Finland.
Urban Search and Rescue Teams have been locating and rescuing casualties, while medical teams provide first aid. Three Nations have deployed field hospital to the exercise locations to provide the necessary follow-on medical care.
Several Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Response teams have been dealing with the consequences of the secondary damage to, for instance, energy facilities and chemical installations, leading to several leaks in gas and chemical pipelines.
The exercise aims at coordinating operations in a crisis between different organizations and agencies. “The aim is also to see what bureaucratic problems might arise in such situations,” said exercise coordinator Pentti Partanen, from the Finnish Interior Ministry.
“UUSIMAA 2008” is the first EADRCC field exercise to be hosted by Finland, as part of the Finnish contribution to the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme. It is also the eighth exercise held by the EADRCC since 2000.
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