NCCR successfully finishes first phase of Land Search and Rescue Program

Paramaribo, Suriname, December 13, 2014 (National Coordination Center For Disaster Relief) - The National Coordination Center for Disaster Management (Nationaal Coördinatie Centrum voor Rampenbeheersing, NCCR) of Suriname has successfully completed the first phase of a Land Search and Rescue (LSAR) Program, which forms part of a collaboration between the NCCR and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) with financial support from international partners (UKAid, CIDA and Australian Aid.). During this first phase, a training center was established at the Sgt. 1 Martowidjojo Kazerne (‘Concordia’) Training Base of the National Army, Suriname, including the renovation of Class rooms and Accommodation areas; construction of simulation areas such as a rappelling tower and a rubble pile where practical training for search and rescue under difficult terrains can be practiced; and the provision of necessary kit and equipment. The LSAR kit and equipment included personal protective equipment and tools that are necessary for conducting search and rescue operations both on land and for swift water rescue.

The first phase had an estimated cost of US$ 192,000.00 including funds from CDEMA, the Government of Suriname and other in-kind support from local agencies.

In 2013 the first 12 potential instructors from various agencies involved in search and rescue in Suriname completed a LSAR train-the-trainers course, which was provided by CDEMA’s regional certified SAR Instructors. The newly trained persons subsequently were mentored by the Regional Instructors in March 2014 to deliver a basic LSAR training course for 18 persons from four different local agencies. NCCR also organized an additional LSAR training course later in 2014 utilizing all its local instructors, for 24 persons from different agencies including NCCR, Fire Brigade, Police, National Army, Coast Guard, Medical Services, the Forest Service and the regional government service. This training activity showcased the determination of Suriname to sustain the LSAR project beyond the external support from CDEMA.

Participants in the training were pleased with the newly acquired knowledge and skills and were also able to share their own expertise with the regional trainers, who build on their local knowledge and experience especially in swift water and forest rescue operations. Most notable was the good cooperation between the different agencies throughout the practical exercises in which they operated together in close knit teams.

On December 11 and 12, 2014 a small delegation from CDEMA Coordinating Unit comprising of Course Coordinator, BG (R) Earl Arthurs and Mr. Adrian Pilgrim from the Finance Unit, visited Suriname. The purpose of the visit was to evaluate the progress of the LSAR training facility, purchase additional kit and equipment for the training facility, close off Phase 1 of the project and discuss with NCCR the plan of action for Phase 2. General Arthurs expressed his great satisfaction with the project achievements, and the way NCCR has taken on the leadership for coordinating LSAR training in Suriname. He also recommended that Phase 2 of the project should start early next year. NCCR Coordinator Colonel Jerry Slijngard restated his vision for the newly established training center; which is to become a center of excellence that can be used as a training center not only by Suriname but also other member countries of CDEMA. The CDEMA delegation left Suriname on Saturday December 13, 2014.

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