ONGWEDIVA – The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development on Saturday initiated a simulation exercise of a gas leak scenario at the Ongwediva Medipark.
The demonstration was aimed at ensuring local authorities are prepared for the unexpected, and to save lives, properties and the environment in their jurisdiction.
The first simulation exercise was conducted in Otjiwarongo in 2022.
Control administrative officer of the Disaster Risk Management Coordination at the urban ministry Frederika Shigwedha said the simulation exercises will be conducted in 57 local authorities within the country.
“The main objective is to bring our local structures together so we prepare for the unexpected and the unknown, to test the capabilities of the local authority disaster risk management committee in terms of attending to emergencies, incidents and disasters occurring within their areas, as well as to test and identify the existing gaps so we can come up with possible solutions to fill the gaps,” she said.
Shigwedha highlighted that the scenario of the event was a leakage of gas in the Medipark, and the staff was supposed to evacuate the patients to the Oshakati State Hospital.
“The main topic was how this evacuation would happen, since it involves a private and public hospital – and to see the coordination and how the Oshakati hospital will receive the patients from a private hospital. We know there are always commotions but, in this case, it was a success,” she said.
Shigwedha revealed they have identified some gaps in terms of the lack of resources within the Oshakati hospital, saying those issues would be dealt with.
Ongwediva mayor Taarah Shalyefu stated that the primary purpose of the magnitude exercise is to test the level of response capability in events of emergency.
“This stimulation exercise gives peace of mind to our residents, as authorities entrusted to safeguard their lives have demonstrated readiness to deal with any casualties in a coordinated manner,” said Shalyefu.
He added that the testing of resources at their disposal in terms of emergency preparedness, response and recovery has created high confidence for investors to bring quality infrastructures to the town.
Various stakeholders – private and public – who took part in the exercise were awarded certificates of appreciation.