DFID-supported simulation exercise organized by WFP Myanmar played key role in flood emergency response
In September 2014, WFP Myanmar Country Office and the Readiness Initiative team from WFP’s Headquarters supported the Ministry of Social Welfare’s Relief and Resettlement Department in conducting a national level emergency simulation exercise (Simex). WFP played a key role in providing technical support for developing training material, designing and facilitating Simex, thanks to DFID’s funding and in coordination with other UN agencies and government counterpart ministries.
It was the first simulation exercise organized in coordination with the Government in Myanmar. More than 200 participants included officials from ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations), ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance, the donor community, government departments from the National Sub-Committee of National Disaster Preparedness Management Working Committee and the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT).
The Simex was intended to test existing coordination mechanisms between the Myanmar Government and ASEAN community, internal and external coordination between departments of sub-committees and sectors/clusters of HCT, based on existing agreements among ASEAN member countries, the Standing Order on National Disaster Management (2009) and Natural Disaster Management Law (2013).
Group presentation during Simex
The exercise helped raise participants’ awareness about government structure and their understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the Sub-Working Group of the Disaster Management Committee. Lessons learned, including communication channel and procedures, called for a revision of the Standing Order, re-aligning it with the National Disaster Management Committee. This helped WFP conduct the emergency flood response in August 2015, delivering life-saving food assistance to affected populations within 48 hours of the declaration of a state of emergency.
The government appreciated WFP’s rapid response, particularly reaching those in need of relief assistance in the most remote and isolated areas of Chin State. Activation of the government’s Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) was one of the important achievements reached through this Simex.
Coordination between the government departments and sectors/clusters has been fostered, yielding significant support to both parties in jointly meeting the needs of people affected by the flood disaster. The response included the timely import and delivery of food and non-food items.
DFID’s contribution has given WFP and other stakeholders the opportunity to be better prepared in the event of a major emergency through the simulation of a very likely scenario in Myanmar.
Following this successful exercise, the participants emphasized the importance of Simex and asked if a similar event could be held at a different level and location with a different but relevant scenario once a year.