The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has trained humanitarian actors in Emergency Operation Center (EOC) services to enhance effectiveness and smooth operationalization of the EOC in the country ahead of the disaster season.
An EOC is a central command and control facility responsible for carrying out the principles of emergency preparedness and management.
Opening the session on Tuesday in Lilongwe, DoDMA’s Director of Preparedness and Response Moses Chimphepo said Malawi’s EOC Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) are not well understood and institutionalized by all humanitarian actors to be able to respond in the event of a sudden onset emergency.
Chimphepo said timely activation of an EOC is critical to its effectiveness, as well as clear operational capacity in terms of leadership, clarity of roles and responsibilities, physical space, equipment, human resources, finances, and vehicles hence the timely training to equip them with knowledge on EOC and SOPs.
“The overall aim for this EOC support is to enhance awareness raising and develop capacity among key stakeholders in Malawi.
"An inclusive process is required with DoDMA and cluster-level multi-stakeholder engagement to design, establish, develop capacity, awareness raising and roll-out of the EOC operations with full government leadership and ownership,” said Chimphepo.
He said the training will help in allocating and coordinating resources, provision of incident communications coordination, and overall disaster and emergency response operational coordination with key teams and response stakeholders.
With funding from the World Bank and Africa Development Bank (AfDB), DoDMA is currently constructing physical EOC infrastructure at national and sub-national levels.
Participants were drawn from UN agencies, government entities and other Non-Governmental Organizations.
Over the years, DoDMA has activated EOCs during key disasters dating back from the Phalombe landslide disaster in the early 90s, but often in an ad-hoc manner.
Hosted by DoDMA and UN Resident Coordinator’s office; the training was conducted by OCHA which is a part of the UN Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies and it was funded by ECHO through the Malawi Red Cross Society and Danish Red Cross, with venue provided by UNICEF.