Swiss agency to mentor National Disaster Response Force battalion

NEW DELHI, Feb 26: India and Switzerland will collaborate on urban search and rescue, under which Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) will mentor the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) battalion for getting the international classification.

The initiative will also mark the resumption of collaboration between India and Switzerland in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), the Swiss government said in a release on Monday.

The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), of which Switzerland is a founding member, is a UN-based and globally recognised benchmark of the abilities of USAR teams making themselves available for international assistance.

SDC will mentor NDRF for getting international classification.

“The international certification to this highest standard enables disaster-affected countries to prioritise accepting international response support from USAR teams that can add proven value to their national capacity, and facilitating cooperation between USAR teams during operations.

“In the framework of this collaboration, multiple Swiss experts will work closely with the NDRF battalion in Ghaziabad with a view to mentor it to achieve the IEC certification over the next two years,” the release said.

IEC refers to INSARAG External Classification.

From 2008 to 2017, Switzerland supported NDRF to enhance its capacities for USAR.

NDRF has 16 battalions of personnel trained and equipped for a swift and effective response to any type of disaster.

In 2003, India and Switzerland signed an inter-governmental agreement on “cooperation in the event of disasters”.

Switzerland through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has been supporting a series of interventions on capacity building for disaster response and risk management. (PTI)