As part of the VNG International (International Co-operation Agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities) recovery programme, 4 workshops for the 7th Emergency Support Function (ESF) took place on May 30 and 31. ESF 7 is in charge of Evacuation, Shelters, Relief & Mass Care during disasters and crises. The aim of the workshops was to assess the tools that were needed and to develop an operational plan to be ready for the upcoming hurricane season.
Experts Jelle Brouwer and Viola van Baardwijk were present to work towards the preparation of both the “warm” (when a crisis strikes) and “cold” (preparation) phase. While there is a lot of documentation available, participants stressed that the revision of concrete tools, such as flow charts, task charts and short manuals is essential to ensure rapid activation of the ESF group once a disaster strikes.
This concerns the focus on people that have to leave their home because of a disaster like a hurricane: temporary shelter and more permanent solutions need to be thought of. The responsible people from ESF 7 have to work with several other ESF groups and organizations to accomplish that.
During the workshop there was a good team spirit and participants worked hard. The experts received a lot of important information for the new disaster plans that they will develop for ESF 7. The goal is to produce a practical and compact plan which can be directly used in the event of a crisis. Follow-up workshops are scheduled to take place in June where drafts will be validated during a table top exercise.
Next to ESF 7, VNG International supports the elaboration of the disaster plans, amongst others for ESF 6 (Public Health sector) and ESF 8 (Mass Communication). In August, a special dilemma training session will be held for the Council of Ministers.