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IOM press briefing notes 14 Mar 2003: Kosovo

Spokesperson: Niurka Piñeiro

KOSOVO - Kosovo Protection Corps receive training in disaster-related search & rescue - IOM continues its assistance to the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), the civil emergency agency created at the end of the conflict in Kosovo in 1999 and mostly composed by former Kosovo Liberation Army members.=A0

As part of the ongoing training of the KPC, the IOM office in Kosovo this week sent 27 members of the KPC to South Africa to undertake a 10-day training on disaster-related search and rescue operations.

The course will take place in Bloemfontein Training Centre, a facility located 400 kilometers south of Johannesburg, well known for its expertise in providing civil protection skills.=A0 The KPC members will learn vital skills such as: fire control, loss control, ropes and knots, disaster management and the use of self-contained breathing apparatus.=A0 This will enhance their ability to provide effective emergency response to man-made or natural disasters.

This activity will serve as a test and exercise of the ability of the KPC in general after three years of training in civil protection.=A0 It will also provide an additional challenge and instructive experience for the KPC Protection Academy, a civil protection educational institution founded within the University of Pristina in October 2000.=A0 Some selected faculty members will be assisting the highly qualified instructors in South Africa in presenting the course to their KPC colleagues thus exposing them to advanced instructional techniques and professionalism.

The IOM training programme for KPC, running since February 2000, is providing training to almost 5,000 members of the KPC.=A0 Of this total, 3,048 are on active duty and the others are part of the reserve.

Since their training began, the members of the KPC have come to the rescue of Kosovars on different occasions.=A0 For example, the KPC took part in search and rescue, evacuation and first aid activities after an earthquake hit Gjilan in April of 2002.=A0 The KPC was also deployed to Peja in December 2002 following torrential rains and floods.

For more information, please contact IOM Pristina, Tamara Osorio Tel: 381.38.549.042 T