CERIDES Successfully Coordinates the Implementation and Evaluation of the HOPE Full Scale Exercise in Armenia

November 30, 2023
Christos Dimopoulos

European University Cyprus / CERIDES is happy to report the finalisation of DG-ECHO project’s HOPE Full Scale Exercise, which took place between the 9th and the 13th of October 2023 in Yerevan, Armenia. The Exercise Scenario related to a major earthquake hitting Armenia. In particular on October 8, 2023, at 06:37, an earthquake with a magnitude of 8-9 ‘occurred’ in Kotayk region, the hypocenter of which was located at a depth of 10 km, and the epicenter is 8 km to the northeast of Garni community.

According to the scenario the Armenian authorities, unable to cope with the needs for rescuing victims based on their own resources, activated the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. The countries of Armenia, Cyprus, France, Georgia, Greece, Montenegro, and North Macedonia offered to provide USAR assistance, an offer which was accepted by the Armenian authorities.

The USAR Teams arrived through air and land, and they were welcomed in properly organised Reception / Departure Centers (RDCs), which were set up be the Armenian authorities.

The Teams were directed to the Base of Operations (BoO) in Lusakert, Yerevan.

The Local Emergency Management Authority (LEMA) coordinated the implementation of the response operations, with the help of the USAR Coordination Cell (UCC). The EUCP Team provided support for hosting the international support teams which have arrived through the Mechanism.

Within the framework of the HOPE project, Dr. Christos Dimopoulos designed (as the Exercise Head Evaluator) the CERIDES Integrated Exercise Evaluation Framework based on international scientific & regulatory standards. The framework was applied successfully during the HOPE FSX, with the help of the project’s Evaluation Team.

The HOPE FSX project is funded by the Directorate-General (DG) for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations – (ECHO), through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (Call: UCPM-2021-EXT).

CERIDES acts as the Coordinating Organisation for this project. The aim of the project is to improve civil protection preparedness and response capabilities of Armenia in dealing with large, complex disasters that require joint response coordination facilitated via the Union Civil Protection Mechanism and INSARAG. South Caucasus countries’ efforts for sustainable development are clearly threatened by a devastating earthquake. Thus, sharing capacities, capabilities and resources, scientific support decision making, use of proven innovative tools, and joint training / exercising can lead to radical improvement of international cross border cooperation procedures of the Mechanism.

The project consortium of HOPE consists of the following members:

European University Cyprus / CERIDES (Cyprus) (Project Coordinator)
Ministry of Emergency Situations of Armenia (Armenia)
Protection and Rescue Directorate (North Macedonia)
Ministry of Interior (Montenegro)
BRGM (France)
Direction générale de la Sécurité civile et de la gestion des crises (France)
General Secretariat of Civil Protection (Greece)

The CERIDES Mission which participated in the implementation and evaluation of the HOPE Full-Scale Exercise activities composed of:

Professor George Boustras (HOPE Scientific Advisor)
Mr. Evangelos Katsaros (HOPE Project Manager, Co-Head of the Exercise Control Centre).
Dr. Christos Dimopoulos (HOPE Scientific Manager, Head of the Project Evaluation Team).
Mr. Pierantonios Papazoglou (Evaluator of Search and Rescue Activities)
Dr. Georgia Solomonidou (FSX Dissemination Officer)