This article was originally published on the website of IOM's Regional Office for Central, North…
A Disaster Displacement Simulation Exercise on the Border Between Colombia and Ecuador
Ipiales, Nariño, Colombia – On 28-29 March 2022, the Governments of Colombia and Ecuador carried out a cross-border simulation exercise on disaster displacement with the support of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD). The event responded to the 2020 Annual Binational Operational Plans between both countries and intended to update information and knowledge about existing tools and other instruments in both countries to address human mobility derived from disasters, including binational communication protocols, decision-making, and binational coordination mechanisms. Through a table-top simulation methodology, the two-day binational exercise aimed to apply planning processes as well as to articulate and coordinate overall communication considerations, including border communities.
The event aimed to contribute to strengthening the national capacities of Colombia and Ecuador in relation to the overall humanitarian response to cross-border disaster displacement, including evacuation processes and assistance to migrants affected by disasters. The simulation exercise was carried out at the border community of Ipiales in Colombia. It was built around a fictitious disaster scenario resulting from volcanic and seismic activity by the Chiles – Cerro Negro volcanic complex, including mudflows and other related events. For two days, government officials from Colombia and Ecuador simulated a coordinated response to a large-scale event that affected local communities across different border areas and regions. Teams from both countries tested their own coordination and response capacities, including assistance to nationals and migrants at their shared border areas.
The exercise was attended by technical and operational personnel from border provinces and municipalities of both countries, including representatives from indigenous communities, armed forces, and other non-governmental organizations. The exercise was carried out in coordination with DRR agencies from Colombia and Ecuador.
These binational efforts respond to the priorities from the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, in particular, the commitment to promote regular disaster preparedness, response, and recovery exercises, including evacuation drills and training, to ensure a rapid and effective response to disasters and related displacement, including access to safe shelter and non-food relief supplies, as appropriate to local needs.
As a result, both countries will continue assessing the need to adopt a binational operational protocol or strategy which integrates disaster displacement considerations, which PDD will support.
Cover photo: © PDD