Having successfully initiated its first Chemical Plan in October 2011, Sri Lanka has now moved to commission its first international level Lethal Chemical Monitoring and Response Team.
“With the support of Hague based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and my Ministry, we have now begun to implement last year’s Chemical Plan” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce.
Minister Bathiudeen announced this on April 5th upon officially witnessing the chemical attack simulation scenario jointly staged at the Fire Department premises.
The simulation scenario staged for over an hour saw various incidents after a chemical attack, including the moving in of the first respondents’ team, evacuation coordination, and setting up victim de-contamination chambers.
The event also saw the first national batch of 42 Response Specialist team who are also trainers of future chemical specialists, completing their training and readying for their next steps. The trainers’ team consists of officers from Criminal Investigations Department, members of tri-forces, the Police, medical doctors, and government analysts department.
Among the private sector observers were from Heyleys, Unilever, Hettigoda Industries and Colombo Dockyard.
“We commenced the process of designing a Chemical Emergency First Responders’ Plan in October 2011. What is important about this pioneering plan was the global compliance standard we will achieve once it is completed. Without this plan, no international investor will want to enter Sri Lanka’s chemical sector in future” Minister Bathiudeen emphasised.
The first four modules of this training programme have been successfully completed with the technical assistance from the OPCW to the value of Rs 180 Mn ($ 1.4 Mn) from the total from the total Rs 300 Mn ($ 2.36 Mn). The Ministry of Industry and Commerce bears $ one Mn.