This was the 19th disaster response exercise and included a Field Training Exercise (FTX) and Table-Top Exercise (TTX) focusing on actions at the tactical level. It also provided the opportunity to test the use of NATO's Next-Generation Incident Command System (NICS), a web-based collaborative platform that facilitates real-time coordination of disaster responses amongst the nations from the Western Balkans region.
The scenario was based upon a severe earthquake underneath Lake Ohrid affecting the cities of Ohrid and Struga. Within the exercises, scenarios addressed urban and mountain search and rescue operations, flood response, response to chemical, biological or radiological incidents, fake news campaigns which affected the civil population, and critical infrastructure projects in the areas around the cities of Ohrid and Struga.
Greek search and rescue responders prepare to jackhammer through a concrete wall to rescue a simulated casualty near Ohrid, North Macedonia during consequence-management exercise North Macedonia 2021.
Starting with the first inject on 21 September the days were filled with multiple scenarios at the same time. The gained experience for all involved entities enhanced interoperability among emergency response teams in the region to help prepare ally and partner nations to meet future disasters and to save lives.
Alongside the exercise, a two-day VIP symposium took place. The symposium consisted of two panels with focuses on civil-military support to a civil emergency and lessons learned from disaster response under COVID-19. These panels featured moderated discussions with Her Excellency Ambassador Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission and high-level NATO representatives, Allied and partner nations, international organizations and non-governmental organizations. The symposium was also broadcast over the internet.
A Montenegrin search and rescue responder prepares to recover a simulated casualty near Ohrid, North Macedonia during consequence-management exercise North Macedonia 2021.
The official opening ceremony highlighted the importance of this exercise, which involved 27 Allies and partners and 16 regional and international organizations. It additionally featured distinguished representatives such as: Mr. Oliver Spasovski, Minister of Interior of North Macedonia, Dr. John Manza, Assistant Secretary General for Operations NATO and Mr. Stojance Angelov, Director Crisis Management Center of North Macedonia.