Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) arranged “CERT Response Challenge”, to test the level of preparedness, knowledge, and skills of the teams existing at the village level
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) arranged a “Response Challenge” for the Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to test their level of preparedness and skills to deal with a disaster situation at the village level. Representatives of local administration and partners including Gilgit-Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA), Rescue 1122 and other stakeholders including leaders of voluntary bodies and Civil Society Organizations attended the event held in Karimabad, Hunza, last Sunday.
Over 45 volunteers representing Community Emergency Response Teams of Aliabad, Hyderabad, Altit, Karimabad, Nasirabad, and Gulmit Gojal, participated in the CERT Response Challenge. A jury of three judges assessed and marked these teams for their knowledge and its application for a given disaster scenario to respond.
The participants were expected to respond to the disaster scenario by applying techniques of search and rescue, evacuating victims to safe places, provision of first aid and transportation critical cases to a nearby hospital. The CERTs had to reflect on the scenario and plan their response strategies within a given timeframe. The response by CERT Nasirabad / Shinaki by marked as first whereas CERT Gulmit stood second.
Addressing the closing ceremony, Mr. Fareed Ahmed, Director General for GBDMA, congratulated the teams for their excellent performances. Also, he expressed the wish to introduce such kind of local-level teams throughout GB under his department by acquiring technical support from Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) in the future.
Mr. Nawab Ali Khan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), AKAH- Pakistan, appreciated the Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) for their performance at the competition as well as for their time and voluntary services for the communities across disaster-prone areas of Gilgit – Baltistan. He further added that AKAH Pakistan in collaboration with Rescue 1122 headquarters in Lahore arranges training and competitions for the teams to improve their knowledge and capacities and to keep them prepared for unexpected happenings. Since these village-level teams are the 1st responders in emergencies so AKAH will continue to add value to their skills and capacities in the coming years. He also thanked the local government, Pakistan Army, NDMA and department heads of GBDMA, Rescue 1122 and other NGOs for the continuous support extended to AKAH.
For the last many years, AKAH has trained over 40,000 volunteers at the community level to respond to disasters and help people in need. These 52 CERTs are helping communities through a door to door education on winter preparedness, raising disaster awareness and importance of emergency evacuation and also providing first aid on need basis.