Training prepares African first responders for incidents involving toxic chemicals or chemical weapons

Demonstration of equipment used in sample collection.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands—8 August 2022—The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) co-organised a training course for first responders of five of the eight Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) countries, in collaboration with the Republic of Sudan. The course was held in Khartoum, Sudan, from 25 to 29 July 2022. The objective of the course was to enhance the chemical emergency management capabilities of the IGAD Member States.

Experts from the OPCW provided first responders with the knowledge and skills to act in the event of a chemical attack or incident involving toxic chemicals, with a focus on the use of protective equipment, and the fundamentals of chemical warfare agents. Participants were also briefed on conducting sampling and analysis in contaminated areas, chemical detection, and establishing an incident command and control system.

Set-up of a mock decontamination station.
Set-up of a mock decontamination station.

In his opening remarks, Mr Khalid Mohamed, Head of the Department of International Organisations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Sudan, emphasised the commitment of Sudan to the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and welcomed the knowledge and skills gained to strengthen national and regional preparedness to deal with incidents involving toxic chemicals.

The course was facilitated through the OPCW’s Instructor Exchange and Development Programme and the Programme to Strengthen Cooperation with Africa on the Chemical Weapons Convention. It was conducted under Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention (Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons) and was delivered by OPCW experts and instructors from Burundi, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda.

The training was attended by 26 representatives from five OPCW Member States: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda, and received financial support from the European Union.

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