Why is the European Commission, DG ECHO, funding a project like INDIMA? The innovative focus from the EUCP “Knowledge Network” is a new approach to develop Disaster Risk Management in all states of the EU and the PS (Participating States) of the EUCPM. The objective is to promote relevant civil protection networks and other disaster management actors and encourage the exchange of information, training, research, and innovation.
Project INDIMA fulfils these criteria by integrating the “new stakeholders” in the classical disaster management processes, developing a concept for implementing a more diverse network of involved private and independent actors. These can be bus operators for evacuation actions, logistic and construction companies for transport and response operations and charities, the different Red Cross bodies and NGOs to cover the needs of the affected population.
Most of the times these activities are below the activation of the EU’s” Community Mechanism” but can involve Civil-Military Cooperation and sometimes also bilateral cross-border assistance.
The situation can escalate and make a call for assistance to the EU necessary, so the “Integrated Disaster Management” is a clear need for extensive interaction between many partners to cope with the challenges and an issue for most of the states CP authorities.
To develop a holistic concept the project will do research activities. A needs assessment, open to all PS and then a survey to find gaps and bottlenecks from previous disaster management mission experiences is the preparation. After this survey, the next step is to look deeper at specific fields like interoperability, legal aspects, and the “evergreen” communication between the different involved actors. Therefore, there will be three workshops conducted in the summer of 2021. The aim is to find new inputs for the concept and to develop later DRM checklists and a methodology for Integrated Disaster Management.
After the development phase, the next step will be a simulation exercise (SIMEX) to test the concept and find improvements. The SIMEX will run for three days to cover the start, the response, and the final phase of an emergency, testing the usability and the possible shortcomings and improvements of the concept. It is not the aim to test personnel or existing disaster risk management structures. The scenario in this exercise will be a “Blackout” (energy supply breakdown) with cascading effects, affecting Timiș County, with its capital Timișoara in Western Romania and the surrounding counties. A blackout is becoming a more and more realistic risk and a trigger of widespread damages or collapse of our living circumstances, especially in urban areas in Europe. Bordering Hungary and Serbia, all possible cross-border assistance and host nation support will be covered in this setup.
INDIMA is one of the first mainly digitally executed projects. The slogan “GO digital” is leading through the projects’ realisation. The extensive use of new digital tools like online survey systems, videoconferences, and social media for the preparation and execution makes it possible to realise a project with this span within this budget frame. The important online project meetings will be recorded digitally and be part of the project management documentation. New opportunities with Information Communication Technology entities for the implementation of digital tools are tested and strengthened. VR-based simulations are part of the SIMEX. The scenarios of the table-top exercise will be presented for the participants by using modern VR systems. Finally, the exercise’s evaluation, a crucial part to finetuning of the concept, will be done electronically, using tablet-based evaluation sheets.
Networking is essential, therefore the partners started to interact with other project and initiatives, like DPPI SEE (Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Initiative) and MODEX (EU’s module exercise cycle), and of the projects of the ongoing KN call, like DiMaND (Disaster Management Network in the Danube Region) but also horizontal issued will be addressed in INDIMA. The projects scope goes from affected persons with special needs to cultural property care in disaster situations. The concept intends to integrate these critical aspects into the response activity checklists and concept.
Individual and free participation in the survey and workshops is open to experts and organisations. The consortium is welcoming this explicitly to broaden the knowledge based on the rich experience of the participants. Just subscribe to our newsletter, to be found at the INDIMA-projects website to stay informed of upcoming events and the project results.