Monday, August 5, 1:30 p.m., Port-au-Prince. At the National Emergency Operations Center, faces are grim. For the past few hours, the North and Artibonite Departments have been pounded by the heavy rains of a Category 1 hurricane that could strengthen.
The International Community Assistance Group, chaired by a representative from the Prime Minister’s office, discusses aid needs following a preliminary report on damages sustained. The World Bank signals its willingness to release a US$1 million contingency fund. In addition, roughly 40 persons from various intervention sectors are in constant contact with the emergency operation centers in the affected departments.
Tuesday, August 6, 11 a.m. Limbé, North Department. 2,900 individuals are in temporary shelters. At the Civil Protection General Headquarters, the Mayor, who serves as the coordinator of rescue operations, confirms the number of disaster victims before responding to a journalist’s questions. At the same time, a protest takes places over food, while a woman shouts that she cannot find her baby.
Simulation to Prepare for What May Happen
Were they real, these situations would be very serious. Fortunately, these events were simulated during SIMEX 2013, the national simulation exercise, organized by the Civil Protection Department. For the past 10 years, these exercises have facilitated assessment of the effectiveness of emergency plans.
This year, the exercise serves a functional purpose—it is aimed at checking coordination, communication, and procedures in two departments and four communes.