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Disaster Response Strategic Multi-Agency Capacity and Capability Development


The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is the agency for international cooperation of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. It aims to contribute to a world without poverty and in peace, for sustainable development. It fosters economic self-reliance and state autonomy, contributes to the improvement of production conditions, helps address environmental problems, and ensures better access to education and basic healthcare services.

Funded by the SDC, The 625 were contracted to assess the regional and national multi-agency capability and capacity to respond to a regionally impacting earthquake and resulting tsunami causing wide-scale destruction, loss of life, fires, large numbers of injured patients and displaced persons, as well as infrastructure failure. Following the assessment, The 625 delivered a range of training and exercising events at the strategic level.

The program of works was delivered in association with MDT Global Solutions and involved a broad range of national level stakeholder organisations. The program of works included the following:

  1. National hazard, risk and vulnerability assessment
  2. Organisational and group capability and capacity audits
  3. Development scheme of work design
  4. Delivery Foresight – Tactical Leadership, Management and Command Program
  5. Delivery Foresight – Strategic Leadership, Management and Command Program
  6. Facilitation of national and international disaster management exercises
  7. Post event capability and capacity report

Observed by delegations from the United Nations, SDC and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, the final strategic level exercise was held in a command centre in south west Lebanon close to the border with Israel.

No events like this had ever been held before in Lebanon and in the light of historic events, potential disunion between the participant organisations presented a significant risk. The pressure on facilitators and the responding organisations was both palpable and immense.

For the duration of the high-pressure, high-stakes event, the players collaborated selflessly. Their collective aim was achieved not just through implementation of the Foresight principles, but also by extensive cross organizational, political, religious and cultural respect and sensitivity. For that we believe that the organisations listed below (alphabetically) deserve colossal congratulations.

  • Civil Defence – Rescue/Fire (affiliated to Ministry of Interior)
  • Hayaa Islamiya-EMS, fire, rescue service (affiliated to Hezbollah political party)
  • Lebanese Armed Forces
  • Lebanese Red Cross
  • Lebanese Security Forces
  • Municipalities

Risala Scouts-EMS providers (affiliated with Amal Movement)

Feedback from LRC

“This event was the first time that all emergency response agencies sat around a table to simulate response to a major incident without knowing in advance what it would be. The simulation was facilitated very effectively by The 625 team and received very positive feedback from the participants who had never before went through a simulation as a real and challenging learning experience. The project sponsor “Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation” also expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the professionalism and knowledge of the team which were able to understand the local culture and navigate the complex politics surrounding this event.” Nabih Jabr – EMS Assistant Director – Lebanese Red Cross