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Development & Operationalization of Preparedness & Response Plan for Arsal Municipality

Arsal is a remote town located in the Northeast of the Bekaa valley on slopes of the anti-Lebanon mountain chain, part of Baalbeck – Hermel Governorate. Arsal is known to be fragile from social, economic, and environmental perspectives. As it witnesses yearly different types of natural and manmade disasters such as floods, erosions, fires, and others.

Aiming at strengthening basic service delivery at municipal level, VNG International, in the framework of MASAR for Local Governments programme funded by the EU, developed and operationalized a Preparedness and Response Plan for Arsal Municipality. This project covered and benefitted the whole population of Arsal amounting to 100,000 inhabitants, around 8000 households, 156 formal and informal settlements and around 900 shops.

The project is a first of its kind at the national level for a Lebanese town. Arsal municipality now follows a full module of disasters’ risk management and reduction, with an established and fully equipped Municipal Operations Room for Disaster & Risk Management (DRM) connected to a GIS system, and two trained and equipped First Responders’ Teams for early intervention, Lebanese and Syrian.

The Disaster Risk Prevention & Preparedness Plan was developed along with the Disaster & Risk Management (DRM) Unit at the office of the Prime Minister. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were also developed and regulated by a municipal decision and VNG International worked on establishing technical connection with the National Disaster Risk Reduction Unit through the Governorate of Baalbeck – Hermel, to ensure constant assistance & ongoing emergency management capability, sustainability, and ownership.

At the end of the project, VNG International, along with the DRM Unit at the at the office of the Prime Minister at the National level, Arsal Municipality and the DRR unit of Baalbek – Hermel Governorate and the Lebanese Red Cross, executed a tabletop exercise for the trained Operations Room members in November 2021 with a simulation drill and intervention for the First Responder’s teams from both Lebanese and Syrian communities.

During 2022, and before the closure event of MASAR in September, VNG International, in collaboration with the Red Cross, will conduct refresher trainings to the First Responder’s Teams and will also establish & train two Community Initiators (Lebanese & Syrian) on domestic & informal settlements fire prevention.

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