On 6 February, at 12:00 PM in Shirak regional administration building, a memorandum was signed between Shirak regional administration, Armenian Red Cross Society, MTAES Shirak Regional Rescue Service and Aregnadem, Azatan, Arapi, Nor Kyanq, Anushavan, Pemzashen, Mets Mantash, Sarnarghbyur, Shirakavan rural communities of Shirak region.
According to the Memorandum, Shirak regional administration is committed to include Armenian Red Cross Society and Community Volunteer Response Teams in the emergency response regional plan, where the roles and the scope of responsibilities of Armenian Red Cross Society and Community Volunteer Response Teams will be clearly described.
ARCS will be also involved in the Committee of Emergency Situations of Shirak region and Disaster Risk Reduction team of Shirak region. Shirak regional administration will support Armenian Red Cross Society also in the field of implementing emergency humanitarian mission as a leading player, which has the capacity of relevant response of local and international level and implements his humanitarian mission and disaster response operations.
Mkhitar Mnatsakanyan, ARCS President, welcomed the participants, mentioning:
“Building safer local communities in the South Caucasus” project and other Disaster management projects, that we implement in the Shirak region are very important. It is here, in this region, after the 1988 earthquake, we realized that we are not ready. The aim of such kind of projects is, to prepare each member of the community, to be able to cope with the disasters”.
Being already involved in the mentioned plans and commissions, ARCS will assist in the organizational and technical issues (first aid, psychosocial support, etc.) of trainings, drills and other events for community volunteer response teams, organized by Shirak Regional Rescue Service, MTAES.
ARCS will also assist in the renovation of the Crisis Management Center, Shirak Regional Rescue Service of MTAES and will use its capacity to implement targeted projects and events.
During emergency situations ARCS will use the capacity of the "Tracing" service of the Global Network of Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, for the purpose of gathering information about the victims, and providing them to their families and so on.
Marat Saribekyan, Head of Shirak Region Rescue Service, mentioned:
- Community Volunteer Teams are of great importance to us, we believe that they have joined us as rescuers.
According to the Memorandum, Shirak Regional Rescue Service, is committed to involve community volunteer response teams into the simulations-drills, situational game – exercises, as stated in the Annual plan, also include them into the Regional Emergency Response planning, establish a database in the Crisis Management Center of team members and their capabilities, equipment availability, contact details and other information.
According to the agreement ARCS will be involved in the Shirak regional Emergency Committee teams and in the Disaster Risk Reduction Shirak Regional team, as well as will have a place in the Crisis Management Center.
Edmon Azaryan, Head of Disaster Management and Population Movement Department, presented the project achievements and results:
-Today, we already have a statistics of the emergencies, responded by the Community Volunteer Teams. This reflects the fact, that these teams are operating, trained and capable to respond. Our goal is to do everything possible to ensure the continuation of their mission. This Memorandum will also help to clarify the functions of the Red Cross and communities during emergencies.
Precondition for the creation of this Memorandum were the “Building safer local communities in the South Caucasus” project results, co-funded by European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), Danish and Icelandic Red Cross, in a consortium with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
In the frame of the project in 18 target communities in the Shirak region were formed Community Volunteer Teams. To provide the CTs with corresponding knowledge in the sphere of Disaster Risk Management and ensure a high level of their preparedness, ARCS organized theoretical and practical trainings titled “Disaster Risk Management Skills”, “Provision of Humanitarian Assistance (“Relief”) and “Rescue Skills and First Aid”. As the final stage of the training, ARCS, jointly with Shirak regional Rescue Service of RA Ministry of Emergency Situations and “LORE” rescue team NGO, organized one day simulation drill for each of 9 community teams.
Special uniforms (jacket, trousers etc.) and equipments (helmet, axe, shovel, speaker etc.) were distributed to 9 CT members. Also, one-day workshop on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) was organized in Shirak region for regional partners.
Preparedness of the teams is enabling them to respond in case of emergency, before rescuers arrival, and the results have been registered already.
The activities listed in the Memorandum will enable not only maintain these achievements, but also to develop and to implement this experience in other regions of Armenia in the future.