Russia to help Nicaragua to modernise disaster response system

MEXICO, August 17 (Itar-Tass) — An agreement that envisages the provision to Nicaragua of Russian assistance in the modernisation of the national system to combat the effects of natural disasters was concluded in the Nicaraguan capital on Tuesday. The Russian Embassy in Managua told Itar-Tass by telephone that the document was signed by the head of the EMERCOM agency of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry Oleg Belaventsev and Commander of the Army of Nicaragua Julio Cesar Aviles.

The agreement signed for three years is aimed at “developing and improving the system to prevent natural disasters aftermath and cope with them,” Cesar Aviles said. It, in particular, provides for the strengthening of the civil defence structure, that is the task of the Nicaraguan army, modernisation of the emergency management centre, as well as an early warning system in the event of natural disasters’ threat.

According to Cesar Aviles, the document provides for financing in the amount of 26 million US dollars. Within its framework of Russia will provide the necessary equipment to Nicaragua for rescue operations in both the national territory and beyond.

“The main purpose of the agreement is to increase the efficiency of operations to provide aid to the population in Nicaragua if it suffers as a result of natural disasters,” the army commander said.

Russia decided to provide assistance to Nicaragua in coping with natural calamities in view of the fact that the country often suffers from earthquakes, hurricanes and floods, Russian Ambassador in Managua Igor Kondrashov said for his part.

Officials of the Central American republic highly appreciate Russia’s assistance. At the document signing ceremony they recalled that Russian experts have already provided assistance to Nicaragua “in humanitarian demining.” Within this assistance the destruction of antipersonnel mines that were planted in the country during the 1980s in the conditions of an internal armed conflict was carried out.

EMERCOM Agency was created in 1996 by the Russian Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergencies according to the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation and the Decision of the Government of the Russian Federation. The EMERCOM Agency is a special foreign economic relations organisation of the Ministry and a part of the Russian National Corps of Emergency Humanitarian Response (RNCEHR), whose major tasks are: elimination of consequences of natural disasters both in Russia and abroad. Rendering of interna­tional humanitarian assis­tance to the affected popu­lation. Humanitarian demining.

The Agency has already established itself as a fresh and dynamic force in the field of humanitarian response and emergency relief operations, becoming a promising and reliable partner for the foreign counterparts.

The Agency owes much of its success to the wide scope of possibilities and to the substantial and versatile scientific and technological potential of the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergencies, its specialized units and task forces, divisions, scientific research institutions and training facilities, transport enterprises, and offers the products and services of Russia’s largest and strategically important enterprises. The Agency is involved in the meaningful interaction with the Russian Federal Government, with regional and local authorities through country-wide Ministry’s presence, and with foreign Embassies in Russia. The Agency prides itself on taking a long-term view in establishing cooperation with its partners both locally and internationally as well as on operating with the highest standard of ethics and integrity at all times.

RF Emergencies Minister is Sergei Shoigu. He was appointed by President Yeltsin in November 1991 as Chairman of the State Committee of the Russian Federation for Civil Defence Matters, Extraordinary Situations and the Liquidation of Natural Disasters. Shoigu was given the rank of Major General in October 1994, and his committee became a ministry in January 1994. President Yeltsin showed his faith in the importance of EMERCOM by designating Minister Shoigu a member of the Russian Security Council by Presidential Decree on February 1, 1994. The ministry has: Department for the Protection of the Population and Territories; Department for Disaster Prevention; Department of Forces; Department for International Cooperation; Department for the Elimination of Consequences of Radiological and other Disasters; Department for Science and Technology; Management Department

Working through the office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry can ask for private, Ministry of Defence or Internal Troops of the MVD assistance. That is, the Ministry has international coordination power and the ability to tap local resources if required.

The Department of International Cooperation, to present an example of the activities of one of these departments and commissions, has already signed agreements on cooperation during disaster response and prevention with Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Poland, Belarus, Georgia, and Kazakhstan. Mutual assistance pacts are ready for signing with Mongolia, Latvia, Finland, Armenia, Moldova, Serbia and Estonia. An agreement also exists with the U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), and agreements are sought with the OSCE and NATO.

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