[SIMEX PERU 2021] INSARAG PERU Earthquake Response Virtual Simulation Exercise

The earthquake and tsunami response simulation exercise began on June 21, 2021 and will run for five days in Lima. International organizations will take part and the simulation will use state-of-the-art equipment.

Peru, as chair of the PT INSARAG Americas, and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as Secretariat of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), are carrying out the SIMEX 2021 Americas, as a practice run for activating and implementing the country’s coordination and response mechanisms in the event of a major earthquake. The purpose of the exercise is also to familiarize local authorities, sectors and national USAR teams in the coordination and use of international USAR assistance.

The inauguration of the event was attended by Manuel Bessler, Deputy Director General of Swiss Cooperation (SDC)  and Global Chairman of the INSARAG Group; Igor Garafulic, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Peru; Major General (R) Alfredo Murgueytio, Chair of the INSARAG Regional Group in the Americas and Head of INDECI of Peru; Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, Chief of OCHA’s Emergency Response Section and INSARAG Secretary; and the Deputy-Minister of Defence Resources, Rear Admiral (r) Jose Manuel Boggiano Romano, of the Ministry of Defence.

The first two days will be for preparation and the other three for exercises. Due to Covid-19, the event will be broadcast on-line via Zoom. Peru, through the National Institute of Civil Defence (INDECI) is the host country. Major General (r) Alfredo Murgueytio Espinoza, head of INDECI, declared that Peru is part of the International Humanitarian System by agreement of the United Nations General Assembly, which is in charge of coordinating international humanitarian cooperation mobilized to support the countries affected.

Murgueytio explained that the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is in charge of coordinating the response to emergencies at a global level to save lives and protect people in humanitarian crises. He said that for the first response, OCHA coordinates a mechanism called UNDAC, which has teams that are deployed at the request of the country affected or the Resident Coordinator in less than 48 hours to provide the required support.

He also stated that the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), of which Peru is an active member, has been established for over 30 years. He said that one of the Group’s main activities in the regions is the earthquake response exercises, also called SIMEX.

“In the context of the pandemic, this year for the first time a virtual SIMEX will be held, organized by Peru during its term as Chair of the INSARAG Regional Board of Directors in the Americas”, said General Murgueytio Espinoza.

Despite the pandemic, INDECI has commanded a lot of support and has registered 500 participants from the Americas (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and the United States); and other countries of the world (Algeria, China, Spain, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, South Africa and Ukraine). SDC is involved through the Lima Hub DRR and RR Advisors and its back stopper, who is a member of the SIMEX Advisory team.

Scenario: 8.8 degree earthquake

The INDECI chief said that this time the scenario will be an 8.8 Mw earthquake followed by a tsunami affecting Peru’s central coast, mainly Lima, Ica, Callao and Ancash. He announced that so far, delegations from 18 countries have confirmed their participation.

“The objective of the exercise is to practice the coordination of the response between national and international agencies in support of a country affected by a sudden large-scale disaster,” he said.

He highlighted the significant participation of teams made up of health professionals (medical and nursing staff, physiotherapists, paramedics etc.) who provide clinical care directly to communities affected by emergencies.

Data

Switzerland has been Chair of the Global Steering Group since its creation in 1991 to date. Manuel Bessler, Ambassador and Head of Swiss Humanitarian Aid, has been Chairman of INSARAG from 2016 to date. His predecessor, Toni Frisch, Ambassador and Head of Swiss Humanitarian Aid, chaired INSARAG from its creation in 1991 to 2015.

Document of interest
INSARAG Booklet (spanish)

Source: Diario El Peruano / Ministry of Defense

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