RDFG Trains Kvemo Kartli Representatives on Disaster Prevention

RDFG held a two-day disaster risk reduction training in Tbilisi for representatives of the Kvemo Kartli municipalities. The training was within the framework of Mercy Corps DRR program, a four-month program designed to build disaster risk reduction (DRR) capacity within the DRR Working Groups in local municipalities.

The first part of the training was theoretical and practical work which introduced the participants to the basics of DRR and their roles and functions in all phases of disaster management, as well as an overview of DRR and animal diseases legislation.  The second component was an interactive simulation tabletop exercise of a hypothetical animal disease breakout scenario, where participants made decisions based on information provided about situations that might arise during that emergency.  The exercise was based on realistic scenarios, and participants were expected to respond according to existing procedures and resources.

Vano Grigolashvili, RDFG Chairman, led the training, and Tsira Napetvaridze, NFA Veterinary Department Epidemiologist, and Rostom Lezhava from the Emergency Management Agency, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, facilitated some workshops as well.

Davit Asatiani, head of Kvemo Kartli Local Self-Government Coordination Department remarked that the trainings were very useful and beneficial for his region. “It’s really very good to have the chance to share ideas with people from different parts of the region about how to communicate DRR information to farmers who face the problem first-hand.”  Animal diseases are the primary disaster management issue in Kvemo Kartli, and he intends to hold community meetings and distribute brochures to share with farmers the information he learned at the training.

Gogi Barbakadze, Governor of Dmanisi Municipality, thanked RDFG for the workshops and said that one of the most helpful fact he learned is the big value of prevention.  “Each lari of prevention can save hundreds of laris in response but- most importantly – can save lives.  I intend to share information from the training with the Dmanisi DRR Working Group so we can develop a proactive prevention strategy.”

Dmanisi primarily faces natural hazards – rockslides and destruction caused by severe winds – that impact his community’s roads, bridges, and buildings. “One issue Dmanisi also faces are fires that start when hay bales catch fire which then spreads to homes and barns.  In today’s training, we learned about the minimum distance bales should be to prevent this from happening.  That information is very practical and easy to implement.”

Turel Ismailov, Representative of the Marneuli Municipality, agreed that the training information was very useful for everyday life.  “There are many old trees lining the roads of Marneuli that are at risk from fire and winds.  When the trees fall, we deal with road closures and huge damage. This training reinforced the value of prevention by cutting those trees before disaster occurs.” He added that it was helpful to learn from other participants how they deal with similar situations in their communities.

Rostom Lezhava attended the workshops to share information from the Emergency Management Agency (EMA), which has centralized its 112 emergency number in recent years in order to coordinate best with local areas.  His training focused mainly on how communities can work closely with each other to address emergencies and improve communication, especially in the farther villages.  The EMA is responsible for distributing disaster safety information nationwide, advising municipalities how to establish the duties of their disaster working groups, and provide civil security lessons for 5th grade school students around the country.

Trainings were conducted through the project “Capacity building of municipal DRR Working Groups and Municipal DRR focal points.”  RDFG Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Center implements the project with Mercy Corps Georgia to support the Alliances Lesser Caucasus Programme (ALCP).  The goal of the project is to raise DRR Working Groups’ (WGs) and DRR Focal Points’ capacity in eleven targeted municipalities of Kvemo Karli and Adjara, as well as advocate to and work with regional and national government where required. The project is implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, the Emergency Management Agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and Millennium Challenge Account Georgia.