Civil Defence spokesperson optimistic that Cyprus will receive the UN OCHA certification on earthquake response

Optimism that the Republic of Cyprus will succeed in obtaining the certification of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), for earthquake preparedness and response, expressed on Saturday the spokesperson of the Civil Defence, Olivia Michaelidou.

In statements during a Civil Defence search and rescue exercise, Michaelidou stated that the Larnaca Civil Defence District Office hosts representatives from OCHA. The UN officials, she added, are in Cyprus to evaluate the national system in terms of dealing with an earthquake, “but also to see if we follow procedures that are in line with the standards set by the UN.” She added that this concerns the INSARAG Guidelines, “for which a painstaking effort” has been made for many years, so that the Republic of Cyprus can meet the requirements of OCHA.

“If we receive a positive evaluation then the Republic of Cyprus, through the Civil Defence Force of the Ministry of Interior will receive the relevant certification, which is very important for our country because it will mean ranking among the few countries in the world that have been assessed and have been awarded the certification,” she added.

“We are very close and we will do whatever it takes to join the INSARAG Guidelines family,” he said, noting that “for us it will be a great proof of Cyprus’ ability to deal with earthquakes.” The most important thing, however, she added, is that it will be a starting point for further upgrading and strengthening of the country’s mechanisms in relation to earthquake preparedness and response.

The scenario of the exercise concerned a magnitude 6.5 earthquake in the sea area of Larnaca, that has been felt throughout Cyprus, but especially in the Larnaca district, causing great damage and the collapse of buildings.

Michaelidou also said that, in addition to the representatives of OCHA, there were also observers from various countries that too wish to be certified by the international organisation and apply its guidelines.

Source: Cyprus News Agency