TSF supports United Nations in emergency operations coordination training
At the request of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), a team from TSF’s Latin America Base in Mexico has deployed to Costa Rica to provide training to the UN Disaster Assessment Coordination body.
The sessions are based around the installation and the functioning of UN On-Site Operations Coordination Centres (OSOCC). These centres are the first port of call for aid agencies and search and rescue units in the aftermath of a disaster. They are vital hubs that centralise all the information necessary for a coordinated and concise response amongst affected populations.
Placed at the heart of a disaster site in challenging and adverse field conditions, the OSOCC has two primary objectives:
1. To rapidly provide a means to facilitate on-site cooperation, coordination and information management between international responders and the Government of the affected country in the absence of an alternate coordination system.
2. To establish a physical space to act as a single point of service for incoming response teams, notably in the case of a sudden-onset disaster where the coordination of many international response teams is critical to ensure optimal rescue efforts.
Telecommunications are a critical element in the functioning of an OSOCC in a context where the terrestrial network is often interrupted and yet the need to communicate is more important than ever. Since 2006, TSF has been partnering with UNOCHA to ensure that its centres are equipped with BGANs, ICT equipment and the expertise necessary to guarantee the best response for survivors.
This training session is focused essentially on the methodology behind the Operations Centres, with both theoretical and practical sessions for liaison officers, team leaders, national emergency managers, cluster coordinators, NGO coordinators, UNDAC members and technical support staff. All participants are training by TSF in the use of emergency communication response tools to make certain that when disaster strikes, members have the necessary skills and knowledge to act as quickly as possible.
The skills acquired in the practical and theoretical sessions will be applied at the end of the week during a 2-day simulation exercise carried out under real conditions whereby the only means of communication will be the BGAN connections and the technology set up by Télécoms Sans Frontières.