Under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar Red Crescent (QRC) is planning to hold its Fifth Disaster Management Camp (DMC-5) from 1 to 10 April 2014 at Al Khor Marine Scout Camp.

Involving the participation of 300 trainees from inside and outside of Qatar, the camp will be organised in coordination with several Qatari governmental and non-governmental organisations, in addition to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations, and the General Secretariat of Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.

Among the partners that will contribute to the event are Ministry of the Interior, the Permanent Committee for Emergency, the Qatar Armed Forces (QAF), the Internal Security Force (ISF) – LEKHWIYA, Ras Laffan Community Outreach Program (COP), Alrayyan TV, Ooredoo, Qatar Steel, Qatar Charity, Qatar Scouts & Guide Association, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Tourism Authority, Doha Golf Club, the Community Police, and the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The exceptional success of the fourth field camp for disaster management training, held in April 2013, resonated strongly among Qatari institutions. ‘The State of Qatar attaches much importance to dealing with natural disasters and international cooperation to face them and reduce their impact,’ said HH Sheikha Alya Ahmed bin Saif Al Thani, Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Geneva, during her keynote speech before the fourth session of the Global Forum for Disaster Reduction (GFDR). She highlighted the state-sponsored annual disaster management training camps, ‘such as the Fourth Disaster Management Camp (DCM-4) organised by QRC during the period 1-10 April 2013, under the slogan ‘Effective Readiness for Better Response,’ which involved participants from many Arab national societies, with the objective of enhancing national disaster response capacity.

As capacity building is a national priority under Qatar National Vision 2030 and the only way to create a culture of preparedness and promote important disaster response tools in the world, QRC initiated preparations for the DCM-5 as early as October 2013. Many public and private-sector institutions and companies were invited to participate in the event, to attract a new genre of volunteers from those bodies to receive training in how to get prepared for dealing with disasters.

This year, trainees from over 20 Red Crescent societies in GCC and MENA countries will attend the camp, in addition to specialised trainers and experts in disaster management.

Director of the Camp, Rashid bin Saad Al Mohannadi, stated that the DCM became a distinguished event not only inside Qatar, but also across the region. Awaited by many local and international governmental and nongovernmental organisations, it is the only specific training of such level to be introduced in Arabic, Al Mohanadi pointed out. ‘I urge the Qatari society to be more aware of the importance of disaster preparedness and mobilising resources to establish a family and society where the culture of preparedness is a general behavior, not mere information,’ he stressed.

The program involves theoretical and hands-on training. The theoretical part introduces extensive training in disaster management, to educate the trainees on international standards and concepts, such as Sphere, psychological support, international humanitarian law, secure access, and resorting family links.

The practical part focuses on dividing participants into field teams, including teams for field assessment and coordination; healthcare; water and sanitation; food and distribution; sheltering, registration, and logistics; and media. Those teams will actually manage and run the camp throughout the training duration. On the last day, all groups will perform a simulation disaster scenario, in coordination with relevant partners in Qatar.

QRC has already successfully organized four training camps in 2006, 2007, 2012, and 2013, graduating hundreds of volunteers who later played an effective role in responding to many disasters in other countries with QRC.