From November 26th till 28th the “closing meeting’ of the project took place. In fact this was a combination of the last (6th) LES meeting and Project Management meeting, the final (4th) meeting of the Steering Committee and the evaluation meeting.
The first day started in the morning with a “mini symposium” about different aspects of local disaster risk management in the main office of the Safety Region South Holland South in Dordrecht.
The participants received a warm welcome by Roland Bron, head of the Crisis management department. After the opening, the participating cities, Ungheni, Ararat and Kutaisi as well two departments from the safety region each presented an aspect of local DRM. Ungheni presented their work on and with a local DRM Strategy. Kutaisi focused in their presentation on preparedness and Ararat on disaster risk reduction and the relation with environmental problems.
South Holland South presented the way the region deals with the integration of local DRM in a regional civil protection organization and their ideas about risk & crisis communication. After the presentations were given, there was time for a intensive discussion among the partners and with the audience.
In the afternoon the Exercise Centre “Spinel” was visited with a brief presentation from Operational coordinator Arnold Verweerd and a guided tour on the centre where Arnold explained the use of the different objects on the site. The day was closed with a tour through Dordrecht with the focus on flood protection.
The second day started with a visit to Deltares in Delft. Deltares is an internationally working, independent institute for applied research in the field of water and subsurface. It is an important knowledge institute in the Netherlands in the field of flood management and advisor of the Dutch government in the Delta Program.
Ben van Kesteren presented the Flood Risk Management in the Netherlands and made very clear why this topic is so important in a country that is for 60% under sea level. Different objects were shown where Deltares is able to test all kind of flood protection objects with simulated water conditions.
In the afternoon a visit to the public Health service in the Hague was scheduled. Eric the Coster, department head and doctor in the field of infectious diseases, explained how the climate warms up very fast the last years and which health risks are related to this changes. He focused especially on infectious deceases but mentioned also other health risks related to this warming up. He warned the group to be aware of the increasing risks and prepare not only for the natural risks like flood and droughts but also for responding adequately to epidemics and their potential impact on health care.
The last part of the afternoon the evaluation meeting was planned. Together with the participating mayors, the focal points and Core team members looked back on the project and the impact it had on as well the cities, the stakeholders as the focal points own knowledge and capacities.
The last day started in Rotterdam with a combined Steering Committee meeting and a Project Management meeting in the office of the safety region Rotterdam Rijnmond. This building also houses the 112 and multidisciplinary emergency room for the two regions (ZHZ and RTD).
During this meeting the Core team members formally closed the curriculum by presenting the focal points a “certificate of participation”. The members of the Steering Committee expressed their great appreciation for the commitment and efforts shown by the focal points during this project.
At the end of the morning the group visited the emergency room and got an explanation of the work done for police, safety regions/ fire brigades, ambulances and other regional agencies. This was followed by a visit to the Rotterdam harbour, to explain the Dutch policies for industrial safety and to show how public and private fire brigades work together in the Port of Rotterdam and it’s industrial area.
The work goes on….
The project will end December 31st. But the work is not done. In December the focal points will work further on the last details of the Strategy and action plan. The cities will take steps to approve them formally and decide about implementation of the proposed actions. The project partners have promised each other to stay in touch and support each other where possible. All partners look back on a very successful project with not only the formal goals and deliverables from the projects as result, but also a warm friendship and commitment to the other participants. For sure, this will be a good basis for further cooperation with or without a next EU project.