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EUBelModEx 2015: Floods  in Belgium

Heavy rain fall, flooding and the release of dangerous substances – during the EU exercise “EUBelModEx 2015” in Antwerp (Belgium), which took place from 6th until 9th March, the participants trained transnational cooperation in several operational scenarios.

In the framework of the exercise, the Belgian government requested aid from the UN member states via the “Union Mechanism”, as the fictitious emergency had already stretched the local rescue and relief organisations to their limits.
On site, the altogether more than 100 volunteers were confronted with several potential damage scenarios: besides other tasks, they had to prevent flooding and treat drinking water. Another scenario was the hypothetical release of chemical, biological and nuclear hazardous substances (CBRN). Among other things, the volunteers had to identify the released substances and to neutralise them afterwards.

An expert team from the EU (European Civil Protection Team) coordinated the foreign volunteers in close cooperation with the local authorities from Belgian disaster management.
The Federal Agency for Technical Relief participated in the exercise as a consortium partner in different sectors such as organisation and planning and exercise control management (ExCon), tasks which, however, were also carried out together with the participants. Germany assigned a team of CBRN experts from the Analytical Task Force (ATF) of the Federations . The team of 15 ATF members consisted of fire brigade volunteers from Cologne, Hamburg, Dortmund, Munich and Mannheim. Three THW volunteers supported the ATF in the sectors of logistics and communication.
Based among the executive and coordination staff (LuK) of THW's headquarters in Bonn, colleagues from the professional fire brigade supported the ATF in Antwerp, together with THW staff members and an employee from the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK). Among other things, they planned a fictitious turnover of staff for a longer-lasting assignment. At the same time they thus trained the cooperation between ATF and THW in an emergency case and also its coordination.

Furthermore, several representatives from THW accompanied the exercise as observers. They collected valuable experience and ideas for the next European field exercise, which will take place in Germany in May under the auspices of THW.

The “EU Modules Exercises” are a series of field exercises for EU disaster management modules. Exercises such as these are very important for the preparation of international cooperation in the event of large-scale damage scenarios. The volunteers from the different countries have the opportunity to exercise together, to improve existing structures and to get to know each other.

  • In the framework of the exercise, the Belgian government requested aid from the UN member states via the “Union Mechanism” (show image)

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