The main points discussed at the meeting are as follows:
1. Progress from the previous meeting held in Fukushima
Confirmation of the IFRC Guidelines
The final draft of the IFRC Guidelines developed based on the discussions at the Third Reference Group Meeting held in Fukushima was introduced at the meeting. The Guidelines are comprehensive and giving guidance on the role of National Societies in preparedness, response and recovery for nuclear and radiological emergencies. The National Societies can use the Guidelines as a basis for developing their own guidance adaptable to their national contexts. As one example of a National Society guidance document, the guidelines developed by the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) were presented at the Fourth Reference Group Meeting. The IFRC Guidelines will be shared at a side event of the IFRC General Assembly in December 2015 with participants in the General Assembly coming from around the world.
Survey results about RCRC Societies’ capabilities for response to CBRN emergencies:
The IFRC shared the results of a survey about RCRC Societies’ capabilities for response to CBRN emergencies. The survey was conducted for the purpose of gathering information about CBRN preparedness, disaster risk reduction of nuclear and radiological emergencies in each country’s contexts and the role of each National Society.
The e-learning module on nuclear emergency preparedness that the IFRC developed and released was explained. The module allows the user to learn by playing a role as an emergency health staff member who will be deployed to the emergency to support the National Society. Furthermore, the ICRC presented its ongoing work on establishing a scheme for the roster of CBRN experts. Selected experts will receive a basic training with relevant equipment and will take part in regular refresher exercises. Deployment in the event of an emergency is assumed to be coordinated either through the ICRC or the IFRC. The IFRC and the participant National Societies recognized the necessity of considering efforts of this kind as well.
2. Best practices of National Societies
Some RCRC Societies introduced their efforts for CBRN emergency preparedness.
The German Red Cross gave a presentation about the overview of some challenges faced by the local disaster response structures in the context of the current influx of migrants into Germany.
Delegation for East Asia of the IFRC made a presentation about the activities provided by the Red Cross Society of China following the explosions in Tianjin. They set up evacuation centers and provided relief supplies. Psychosocial support teams provided individual counselling to the survivors.
Report by the Pakistan Red Crescent Society.
The Pakistan Red Crescent Society gave a presentation about their CBRN preparedness and how this fits with the national preparedness. They introduced the content of training and exercises that the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority is organizing and providing for the general public. During their presentation, the National Society said: “Physically being there in Fukushima and seeing the affected area awakened us. We recognized the importance and urgency of preparedness for nuclear disasters.” Their remarks gave a renewed significance to the Third Reference Group Meeting that was held in Fukushima and the importance of continuing to disseminate the situations of the affected areas to the world.
The Indian Red Cross Society gave a presentation about the country’s challenges such as vulnerability to natural hazards and poverty rates.
Other National Societies such as the Italian Red Cross, the ICRC, Magen David Adom (Israel) and the JRCS also introduced their activities.
3. CHARP (Chernobyl Humanitarian Assistance and Rehabilitation Programme)
From March to July 2015, the IFRC reviewed its CHARP activities which were conducted for 22 years from 1990 to 2012. The detailed report will be published. The review results will also be introduced at a side event of the IFRC General Assembly in December 2015.
4. Presentations by guests
(1) Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance
Ms. Susanne Lenerz gave a presentation on civil protection to CBRN in Germany.
(2) Robert Koch Institute
Dr. Julia Sasse of Robert Koch Institute made a presentation entitled “Preparedness and Response to B-Hazards in the National Context”, explaining coordination in Germany among the government agencies, other competent authorities and response agencies.
5. Way forward
CBRN should be taken up at the statutory meetings. The National Societies who were present at the Fourth Reference Group Meeting recognized the necessity of driving CBRN emergency preparedness forward. To promote that, they also agreed that the National Societies need to improve general knowledge and a pool of experts will also need to be established.
For the actions points, please click on the link below.
Action points for IFRC and RG members [PDF]