First Responders from South Asia Region Reinforce Skills in Chemical Emergency Response

14 March 2018

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 14 March 2018 — First Responders from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) boosted their emergency capabilities during a sub-regional training course on emergency response to chemical incidents held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 4-8 March.

The training was jointly run by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Bangladesh National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention (BNACWC), and the Bangladesh Army. 

The Bangladesh Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief Secretary, Mr Md Shah Kamal, expressed his appreciation for the course by stating that, "I am happy that participants will become more familiar with the equipment needed during the response to a chemical attack, and will learn how to build an efficient response team in case of chemical emergencies".

The training enhanced the capacity of OPCW Member States to respond to incidents involving both chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals, providing the participants with knowledge on monitoring, detection and decontamination operations.

In addition to theoretical segments, the training also included a practical session on the use of protection equipment, as well as a demonstration of an emergency response to a chemical attack, held at the Mirpur Fire Service and Civil Defence Training Center in Dhaka.

Thirty-nine attendees represented five OPCW States Parties: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

These First Responders will continue their training cycle with the upcoming advanced course and field exercise in Islamabad, Pakistan, planned for November 2018. 

Background

As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. 

Over ninety-six per cent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.

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