Following the Covid-19 global pandemic, it became evident of the paramount importance for the country to have emergency response plans alongside relevant contingency plans, to ease response when disasters struck.
In view that the country highly depends on Seychelles National Port and Airport for maintenance of daily life and the economy. Disruption to either facility would result in a multitude of impacts; from food, fuel and job insecurity, as tourism and fisheries are the main pillar of the Seychelles economy.
The Disaster Risk Management Division (DRMD) during recent World Bank Mission to Seychelles confirmed that ensuring business and service continuity for these critical national infrastructures is viewed as a top priority for government. Whilst both the Port and Airport have statutory plans already in place that comply with international standards, their plans were identified to not fully aligned with the National Integrated Emergency Plan (NIEMP), which sets up the framework for effective coordination of preparedness and response operations, regardless of scale and causation for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Seychelles.
Starting on Friday 16th June 2023, DRMD with technical support of the World bank consultants along with the Seychelles Port Authority (SPA) and the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) started the initial reviewal of draft plans for both SPA and SCAA which continued throughout the following week of Tuesday 20th June to Friday 23rd June 2023.
The first two days of the event were centralised around the sensitisation of Disaster Risk Management Focal persons of each responding MDAs to understand their roles when responding to emergencies at the Port Victoria and the Seychelles International Airport. Clarification of the Integrated Emergency Management System (IEMS), Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) and plans required by the MDAs were also some of the key points discussed during the two sessions.
Whereas for the following days, Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd June, both SPA and SCAA along with their corresponding first responders were tested during a table-top exercise to familiarise everyone with the chain of command and decision making at the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) also known as the Silver Command Post. This was then followed by an afternoon session at the NEOC headquarters for an escalation of the presented scenarios during the table-top exercise, at a national level.
In view of the training, the corresponding MDAs are expected to review and amend their established SOPs, to be aligned with the National Integrated Emergency Plan (NIEMP). Moreover, the MDAs are expected to evaluate their emergency operations system regularly through several table-top exercises, similarly to exercises conducted. Thus, building effective coordination between MDAs and effectual preparedness response.