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Sunday, April 14, 2024

India and Switzerland to collaborate on Urban Search and Rescue

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India and Switzerland have decided to resume collaboration on Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) where multiple Swiss experts will closely work with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) battalion in Ghaziabad and mentor it to achieve the IEC certification over the next two years.

This collaboration is another milestone as Switzerland and India commemorate 75 years of friendship and over six decades of Indo-Swiss cooperation, a statement said on Monday.

Earlier, from 2008 to 2017, Switzerland had supported NDRF to enhance its capacities for Urban Search and Rescue.

In 2003, India and Switzerland signed an inter-governmental agreement on “cooperation in the event of disasters”. Switzerland through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has been supporting a series of interventions on capacity building for disaster response and risk management.

This includes collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on capacity building for Glacial Lake Outburst Flood Risk Management since 2019.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation collaborates with Indian authorities through cooperation projects in the fields of climate change mitigation (low-carbon cement, energy efficiency, renewable energy), adaptation (cities’ climate action plans, solar irrigation, disaster risk management in Himalayan states) and environment (air pollution and natural resource management).

The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), of which Switzerland is a founding member, is a UN based and globally recognised benchmark of the abilities of USAR teams making themselves available for international assistance.

The international certification to this highest standard enables disaster-affected countries to prioritise accepting international response support from USAR teams that can add proven value to their national capacity, and facilitating cooperation between USAR teams during operations.

NDRF, with its 16 battalions of personnel trained and equipped for a swift and effective response to any type of disaster, not just within India but also internationally, notably the Japan triple disaster-2011, Nepal earthquake 2015 and Türkiye earthquake 2023.

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