Command and headquarters civil protection exercise within the EMBER project

A joint exercise under the title “Flood protection in the cross-border area 2017” was held on 26 September 2017. It was an online meeting between the teams from Novi Sad and Vukovar, with the participation of more than 50 representatives deployed in several dedicated teams on both sides of the border. The exercise involved the following aspects: flood protection, evacuation and care of the population, material and technical facilities and domestic animals.

The goal of the exercise was to check the qualification and aptness of the operative expert team for flood protection of the Secretariat of the Provincial Government on behalf of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and the civil protection headquarters of Vukovar-Srijem County. Moreover, the tasks of the exercise included the planned solutions and procedures in the part dealing with flood protection, as well as the application of standardized procedures and forms for seeking and receiving help.

According to a pre-designed exercise scenario created for a fictitious period of 6 days, due to the heavy rain in both Croatia and the Republic of Serbia, the water level of the Sava River and its tributaries increased, causing a declared state of emergency in both countries. The training teams on both sides of the border, in response to the newly developed situation, devised operational and communication activities and defined operational treatment according to the scenario, maintaining regular communication and exchange of important information for decision-making while reacting to the flood wave on the Sava River. The exercise included the territory of the Srem District in Serbia, in particular the City of Sremska Mitrovica and the Municipality of Šid involving the surrounding settlements and the territory of Vukovar-Srijem County in Croatia. Those areas were hit by the floods of 2014 when heavy material damage was caused to both countries, thus such exercises should improve response in possible similar situations in the future in order to increase the speed of response and reduce damage.

The participants in the exercise were the main actors in the flood defense system in the territory of the Srem District, representatives of the PWMC “Vode Vojvodine”, PE “Vojvodinašume”, Red Cross of Vojvodina, representatives of the Secretariat of the Provincial Government – Group for defense preparations and emergencies, as well as the local headquarters of the City of Sremska Mitrovica and the Municipality of Šid.

The project “Ever-moving border emergency response – EMBER“ of the total value EUR 1.028.169 is one of the successfully contracted projects under the IPA Cross-border Cooperation Programme between Croatia and Serbia, and is aimed at the enhancement of the regional level cooperation through joint systems and approaches in response to flooding in the Sava river basin in the border region.