Back in the field: missions in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal
During the summer, the WeCAPS team took advantage of the relaxing of the COVID19 travel restrictions to quickly restart the project’s activities in the field. The first mission tool place on 24-28 August in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, where the WeCAPS civil protection expert held several meetings with the Ivorian authorities. The expert discussed with the Commander of the Autonomous Port of Abidjan (PAA) and his team the possible remote activities to be held in case of health constraints related to COVID-19 and evaluated the possibility for WeCAPS to assist the port in a reinforced response to the pandemic (protection/detection/ disinfection). Moreover, the expert participated in an inter-service meeting to follow up the activity of the Special Intervention Plan (SPI) of the PAA. Another needs assessment mission is planned in Cote d’Ivoire for the beginning of October.
In September, the WeCAPS team also visited Senegal. Indeed, the tragic and devastating explosions that occurred on 4 August in the port of Beirut in Lebanon triggered awareness on the need to reduce the project partners’ vulnerabilities linked to hazardous material. Consequently, WeCAPS organised a needs assessment mission in the port of Dakar, to support its authorities in identifying this kind of material and in preventing dramatic events from happening.
The management of a crisis in a port facility requires special attention from the port authorities as the consequences can be catastrophic on a human, material and environmental level. With this in mind, and in order to help the project’s partner ports to better manage a crisis on site, WeCAPS organised a workshop in Paris on 15-17 July that brought together high level experts to build a “Civil Protection Crisis Management Training Strategy in Ports”. During this meeting, the experts were able to build a coherent training according to the type of crisis (land or sea) and adaptable, regardless of the specific management organization of the partner country.
At the beginning of September Nico Vertongen was appointed as the new WeCAPS Team Leader. Nico has been working in the port sector since 2002, when he joined the Antwerp Port Authority in Belgium. When the Port of Antwerp International (PAI) was set up in 2010, he was appointed Director for Africa. As such, he gained in-depth knowledge of the particular characteristics of African ports. In 2019, he was recruited as port governance expert for the WeCAPS project. He was named Team Leader of the WeCAPS project in September 2020.