Portsmouth university and rescue teams take part in disaster simulations

More than 2,000 people took part in the three-day disaster simulation exercise
More than 2,000 people took part in the three-day disaster simulation exercise
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ORGANISATIONS which respond to major disasters took part in a three-day simulation project.

Students from the University of Portsmouth also took part in the event across the city which saw services respond to earthquakes, refugee camps and oil leaks.

More than 2,000 people took part in SimEx as part of more than 50 organisations.

It is the largest international emergency response event and has been running the past five years. It started as a training day for students on the university’s disaster management masters course, run by Dr Richard Teeuw.

He said: ‘SimEx has since grown, in partnership with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, to a major multi-agency exercise training and practicing emergency responses.’

Organisations which took part included the United Nations, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK International Search and Rescue, Coastguard, RNLI, and the Red Cross.

Over the three days, disaster management students from the university took on roles within a United Nations disaster assessment and coordination team.

Students and staff from other departments also took part, including nursing and paramedic students, with drama students playing the roles of disaster victims and refugees.

The first day began with an earthquake scenario which had devastated an impoverished country causing fatalities and destruction, with many refugees fleeing by land and sea.

There were also explosions and leaks at the country’s oil refinery.

The second day featured urban search and rescue in the earthquake-damaged buildings, the identification, shelter, health and well-being of survivors and the identification of victims of the disaster.

The last day included assessments of a refugee camp and humanitarian emergency management activities.

It ended last Friday with a debriefing to help improve the UK’s response to future international disasters.

The event is managed by Naomi Morris who teaches on the university’s crisis and disaster management course in between trips abroad.

She uses her expertise in emergency response to help respond to natural and man-made disasters around the world.