DUSHANBE, May 12, 2011, Asia-Plus -- The state-of-the-art equipment for carrying out urban search and rescue operations as well as radio-communication equipment and other necessary supplies have been donated to the Committee for Emergency Situations (CES) under the Government of Tajikistan.

Donations were handed over by the UNDP Tajikistan Disaster Risk Management Program (DRMP) to the CES rescue teams, including the national search-and-rescue team, Tsentrospas, and rapid response teams in Khorog, Khujand, Kulob, Rasht, and Qurghon Teppa, as well as the CES Training Center and the Khatlon emergency management agency on May 11.

An official opening of the CES Training Center took place on sidelines of the donation-handover ceremony.  With support from UNDP Tajikistan, training ground has been built at the center.

Speaking at the ceremony, the CES head Khaybullo Latipov noted that a total cost of the donated equipment, renovation of the center offices and construction of the training ground was some 500,000 euros.  “The equipment will help strengthen the CES disaster-response capacity,” Latipov noted. 

The UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Tajikistan Alexander Zouev noted that the equipment had been purchased and work on renovating the Center offices and construction of the training grounds had been carried out in the framework of a number of the UND disaster risk management projects under financial support of various donor organizations.

The Tsenrospas chief Oleg Pilkevich noted that the equipment was intended for rapid response teams.  According to him, three such rescue teams are deployed in Dushanbe and five others are deployed in the regions.  “The equipment meets international standards and it is the necessary protocol for our international team, Tajspas, to join the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG),” Pilkevich noted.

Disaster Risk Management Project was introduced back in 2003 as a collaborative endeavor designed to address the serious and chronic problems faced by Tajikistan and its regional neighbors with regard to natural disaster management - comprising preparedness, response, and most importantly mitigation and prevention by three UN agencies (UN ISDR, OCHA and led by UNDP).  In 2007, following the successful completion of the first phase of the project, it was reorganized into Program directly executed by UNDP.  The second phase of the program covered the period of 2007-2009 and was aimed to reduction of natural disasters impact on vulnerable communities by strengthening national capacity to prevent, coordinate and respond to natural disasters. The program continued to strengthen the capacity of the Committee for Emergency Situations at the national level, while building regional mechanisms for DRM and mainstreaming DRM into state policy at the national and sub-national level.  The third phase of the Disaster Risk Management Program covers a 6 year period of 2010-2015.