Move from an approach based on emergency response to one aimed at reducing the risk of disaster, exploiting the resources made available by new technologies.

This’s the objective of the coordinated exercise by Italian Red Cross, realized in Sutomore, on the Montenegrin coast, in the ambit of the European project V-iola (Volunteer based International Online Asset), of which the Italian Civil Protection Department is coordinator.

One three days of full immersion to strengthen prevention capacities regard to the emergencies of participants, including the Montenegrin Ministry of the Interior, the National Society of the local Red Cross, together with the Italian and Hungarian voluntary associations and NGOs.

The different organizations, divided into technical groups, each exploiting their own skills and interacting with each other as it should be in a real case, have worked step by step to realize a strategy and a communication campaign about the reduction risk in case of earthquake.

A non-random choice, in a seismic area like that of the Montenegrin coast, already hit in the past by strong tremors.
To support the work of the participants, who carried out training between the classrooms of the House of Solidarity of the Red Cross of Montenegro and the streets of Sutomore, a team of online volunteers who, from a distance, provided indications on hospitals, schools and companies of the area, the number of tourists that on average visit the town and the location of possible population collection points in case of emergency.

A new frontier on which the V-iola project works in a specific way and exploits the collaboration between institutions, field volunteers and specialized ‘digital volunteers’ who give their contribution remotely through online platforms, doing specific research and putting on systems the collected informations on the ground.

“The objective of the exercise is to create a real situation in which to put the Authorities and the Associations in a forced collaboration, so as to improve the work flow between the different actors involved in the creation of risk reduction strategies – explains Lorenzo. Massucchielli, Head of Emergency Planning of the Italian Red Cross and Project Manager of V-iola-.

During the training we noticed a remarkable change of mentality: working for shared goals, while maintaining each one’s own mission, the participants switched from a very sectorial approach oriented to imagine what each organization could do individually in case of emergency, to which information and which actions could be put in place in a coordinated way to help the population reduce the impact of a natural disaster”.