Top Lebanese civil defense officials discuss enhanced cooperation with UNIFIL

A Lebanese Civil Defense (LCD) delegation led by its General Director, Brigadier General Raymond Khattar, visited UNIFIL Headquarters in Naqoura on 13 February to discuss areas of further cooperation between LCD and UNIFIL on emergency response and preparedness in south Lebanon.

During the LCD leadership’s first-ever visit to the UNIFIL Headquarters, various UNIFIL units, including Civil Affairs Office and the Mission’s fire brigade assets, briefed the delegation on developing a coherent and comprehensive training framework for LCD personnel aimed at strengthening their capacities in firefighting, search and rescue operations.

Briefing the delegation, the chief of UNIFIL’s Civil Affairs Office, Albagir Adam, said his office works “very closely” with LCD and the Red Cross on the ground. He added that the visit would help in further solidifying the Mission’s relations with local emergency response actors with the ultimate objective of strengthening state institutions involved in civil emergency preparedness and response.

The chief of UNIFIL’s fire brigade, Capt. Mathias Heschl highlighted the importance of joint drills and experience exchange with LCD personnel, organized in Naqoura.

Brigadier General Khattar said LCD seeks to enhance coordination with UNIFIL and benefit from its technical expertise.

While continuing training activities in UNIFIL’s area of operations (AO), the future UNIFIL-LCD cooperation will also include training for LCD staff outside of the UNIFIL AO.

LCD is a public civil emergency service that carries out fire-fighting, search and rescue activities and casualty transportation. UNIFIL’s cooperation with LCD dates back to 2008 and has encompassed a plethora of support interventions ranging from equipping of the existing civil defense facilities through quick impact projects (QIPs) to facilitation of joint drills and training courses.

Since the launch of such training courses, a number of LCD personnel operating in UNIFIL’s area of operation have received training from the UN Mission. This is in addition to a wide range of similar capacity-building trainings organized by various UNIFIL troop-contributing countries.