NATO dis­as­ter response exer­cise kicks off in Fin­land

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

NATO disaster response exercise kicks off in Finland 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. 

NATO disaster response exercise kicks off in Finland 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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