To increase preparedness for the potential flooding event, 34 representatives of the civil protection and the first responders for the case of natural disasters in the municipalities of Gornji Vakuf-Uskoplje, Bugojno, Donji Vakuf and Jajce successfully implemented the first flood simulation exercise.

The simulation exercise was aimed to test defined steps and procedures of the Municipal Protection and Rescue Plan and to check the coordination and readiness of the competent institutions in the field. This activity was implemented within the “Technology transfer for climate resilient flood management in Vrbas River Basin” Project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and implemented by UNDP in cooperation with partners at the state, entity and cantonal levels, and 14 municipalities in the Vrbas River Basin.

Almir Hadžibegović, Assistant Municipality Mayor for Urban Planning and Construction of Bugojno municipality and a member of the civil protection unit pointed out “The exercise is excellent, because in this way we were able to determine that the Protection and Rescue Plan, with minor amendments, completely justifies its adoption. There was also a team spirit and in case of a need, it would contribute to more efficient action in the event of natural disasters. The UNDP team conducted and introduced us to this flood simulation exercise in a very professional and simple way.”

The scenario implied verification of three segments of the Flood Response Plan: a plan for response, evacuation and informing the public. The exercise also was attended by the representatives of the Cantonal Administration for Civil Protection of the Central Bosnia Canton.

Stipan Spajić, Expert Advisor for Agriculture and Water Management of the Municipality of Jajce and the Project Coordinator, expressed his satisfaction for taking part in this type of exercise, and added: “Through such practical exercise one can understand the problem related to floods and functioning in the moments of proclamation of a natural disaster. At the same time, the exercise has shown that our plans have some gaps, which we had a chance to experience in actual situations. It is necessary to start updating the Plans as the previous ones are inefficient.”

During 2018, the UNDP’s project provided a continuous professional support to 13 municipalities in order to improve the Protection and Rescue Plans. A special focus was given on flood emergency response measures, defining evacuation routes, evacuation centers, raising the levels of knowledge and awareness, and more efficient communication with the population in the event of natural disasters. This was the first exercise in a row, and such exercises will be organized for all the municipalities in the Vrbas Basin.

Raduška Cupać, the UNDP Project Manager, explained: “Tabletop exercises are the simplest form of training for emergency situations staff, where the key personnel deployed for protection and rescue tasks, is gathered to tackle different simulated situations in a non-stress environment.”

UNDP's project “Technology transfer for climate resilient flood management in Vrbas River Basin” is implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH, the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology of the RS, the Entity ministries in charge of water management and civil protection, and the municipalities* in the Vrbas River Basin.

The project is aimed at providing support to governments in Bosnia and Herzegovina at all levels to adapt to flood risk through the transfer of adaptation technologies for ensuring climate resilient economic activities.

*Banja Luka, Bugojno, Donji Vakuf, Gornji Vakuf-Uskoplje, Jajce, Kotor Varoš, Laktaši, Kneževo, Šipovo, Jezero, Čelinac, Mrkonjić Grad and Srbac.

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