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International High Capacity Pumping exercise

In the Bavarian district of Passau, Germany, the THW hosted an exercise with heavy-duty pumps which started on September 24. It continued until September 27 and involved about 60 civil protection operatives from the countries of the Western Balkans, Turkey and Tunisia as well as THW High Capacity Pumping (HCP) units from Germany.

The exercise has been commissioned by the European Union with the aim of providing training, practice and an opportunity to learn from each other for groups of up to 8 operatives from each of the countries Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Turkey and Tunisia. The participants are or will be members of HCP teams in their countries. Deepening prior knowledge, expanding expertise and sharing experiences on dealing with floods all need to be promoted in cross-border efforts: this was the aim of the gathering of HCP teams from the different countries, organised and led by the THW.

History of country cooperation

In the Western Balkan countries as well as in Turkey and Tunisia, the THW has already been helping to expand flood defence capacity, in some cases over periods of several years.
A three-year project funded by the European Union concluded in March 2018: IPA Floods was designed to improve “Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Floods” in the Western Balkans and Turkey. It included procurement of heavy-duty pumps and related equipment for each country’s High Capacity Pumping units. This was then supplemented with training courses and regular support from THW HCP experts.

In Tunisia, for several years now the THW has been assisting the country as it establishes a volunteer-based civil protection system inspired by Germany’s example. The German Foreign Office is funding the measures, including projects to build up HCP units, which have just been introduced in the country. So the Tunisian participants were particularly keen to benefit from the exercise in Passau and the experiences of the other teams.

Teamwork: Exercise coordination and training

The multi-national exercise in Passau was organised by the International Department at THW Headquarters, the Bavaria Regional Office and the branch office in Straubing. They were assisted by the Local Sections from Bogen, Deggendorf, Passau, Regen, Regensburg, Vilshofen and Nabburg, as well as numerous experienced, volunteer HCP trainers from all over Germany.

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