USAID / OFDA
Members of Afghanistan’s first search-and rescue team at a training in Badakhshan.
Afghanistan’s first advanced search-and-rescue team (SART) went into service in Badakhshan recently. The team was trained and equipped under USAID OFDA’s Disaster Risk Reduction project.
The SART consists of 24 volunteers, including 10 women, from Badakshan-a province highly vulnerable to natural disaster, including earthquakes, landslides, floods, and other hazards.
SART members received instruction in various search-and-rescue techniques, including physical and technical searches of collapsed buildings, rope rescue, casualty handling, lifting and rigging, and communications procedures. Trainees also participated in practical exercises and a simulation drill with support from local police and security forces.
Female SART volunteers were especially engaged and enthusiastic about the training, as women and children are often disproportionately affected by disasters in Afghanistan.
The initiative has been warmly welcomed by the Badakshan government which faced serious challenged during the winter of 2011/2012, when extreme weather conditions and avalanches affected thousands of households in this remote mountainous province.
SART Team Starts in Badakhshan