The Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management Sri Lanka (A-PAD SL) hosted its annual International Search and Rescue trainings in September 2022 at the Sri Lanka School of Military Engineering, Embilipitiya, Sri Lanka. This training was supported by the Embassy of Japan through the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan.
The swift water search and rescue training program was conducted through the expertise of seven A-PAD International trainers from Japan. Whilst the military has its search and rescue capacity; the training was aimed at enhancing their knowledge to achieve international standards in SAR to provide an opportunity to save more lives by promoting efficiency, enhance quality and coordination. Private sector volunteers and those in the field of adventure sports joined the training with military personnel.
The highlight of the training this year was the participation of nine females from the military and corporate sector. The inclusion of female participation ensures incorporation of cultural and gender sensitivity in search and rescue.
Trainees underwent high skill level training both individual collective competencies with state of the art equipment. An intense training culminated with simulation exercises and demonstrations.
The passing out ceremony was held on the 30th of September where internationally acclaimed certification was awarded to 28 civil and military personnel on Swift Water Search and Rescue Level 01.
The event was graced by H.E. MIZUKOSHI Hideaki, the Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka, Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, the Director General of the Disaster Management Centre (DMC), and Col CD Wickramanayake, Commandant of the Sri Lanka School of Military Engineering, Embilipitiya. Speaking at the event the Ambassador of Japan highlighted the support extended towards A-PAD activities by the Government of Japan towards disaster management, mitigation and risk reduction, as well as humanitarian relief responses towards overcoming the economic crisis.
Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, the Director General of the Disaster Management Centre brought to attention the difficulties of Search and Rescue, and the need for professionalism and partnership which was achieved through this program.
Mr. Firzan Hashim, Country Director of A-PAD SL, stated that the certificate the participants received was testimony for not what they achieved but what they will do in saving lives.