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December 9, 2022

‘Earthquake 2018’ national exercise

Rescue operations continued in Bucharest. More than two thousand people lost their lives


Operations to rescue people trapped under the rubble continued Sunday in several parts of Bucharest during the exercise simulating a magnitude 7.5 earthquake. Likewise, as part of the exercise, three camps for displaced people were set up at the Afumati, Voluntari and National Arena stadiums, considering that an estimated 30,000 persons were left homeless.

More than 160 medical doctors and medical assistants from Israel came to Romania to set up the most advanced field hospital.


“More than two thousand people killed and 130,000 affected”


Raed Arafat, head of the Civil Contingencies Department (DSU), announced that there were no delayed reactions, but legislative aspects that must be corrected were discovered.

The latest report from the Earthquake 2018 exercise talks about 2,098 people killed, 3,912 injured, 7,250 missing, 30,000 homeless and 130,000 affected.

“Likewise, 30,000 consumers have no electricity and 25,000 have no access to running water. 250 homes were destroyed and another 900 damaged,” the organisers of the exercise pointed out.

Raed Arafat explained that search-and-rescue operations continue, as do the arrivals of international rescue teams.

Following a call for international assistance, 7 ambulances from Austria, 4 from Italy, one from Hungary, two level I forward medical post trucks from Italy and three from Austria have arrived. A search-and-rescue team from Bulgaria and ambulance paramedics from the Republic of Moldova will arrive later today. On Sunday afternoon, a civilian aircraft made available by the National Aerospace Research Institute was set to bring 4 medical doctors and medical assistants from Timisoara.

According to Arafat, starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday, a camp for displaced people was to be set up at the National Arena, with a capacity for 600 persons, and another 20,000 persons can be sheltered inside the stadium.

“This afternoon, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Sylianides is expected to arrive in Romania,” Arafat added.

Raed Arafat pointed out that seven hundred firefighters from all over the country are taking part in the exercise, supported by employees from other structures: Gendarmerie, Defence Ministry, Police, civil aviation.

“Along with these structures, we end up having several thousand persons,” Arafat said.

In addition to them, there are six hundred “injured” persons, those working on their makeup, but also those drafting the scenarios of the exercise.

The head of the DSU was asked whether problems or delayed reactions were identified after the first day of the exercise.

“There were no delayed reactions, there were certain aspects to solve on the go, and they were solved very well. For instance, when an international team arrives, maybe some paperwork is missing. This is part of the exercise, the idea is how fast do you solve this problem. We had the support of the Customs, of the Border Police. Another aspect is authorising the medics who come to work in Romania. They are medics without the right to practice,” Raed Arafat explained.

He pointed out that things were solved as if this was a real situation, to see how long it would take to solve the problems. In normal conditions, authorising foreign medical doctors to work in Romania could take up to several weeks. In crisis situations, the solution found was a rapid procedure that allows medical doctors to work the moment they arrive in the country. They are temporarily authorised to work in Romania.

Raed Arafat explained that legislative problems were also found.

“There are very many aspects in the law, that take very many things at very high level and, in case of a disaster, we may not reach them. For instance, you want to take some things from somewhere, these are things that lead up to Government Decision. It’s not feasible, in case of a disaster, to have to decide at that level everything you want to do,” Arafat added.


Operations to rescue people trapped under rubble continue in several areas of Bucharest; two camps for displaced people being built


According to Interior Ministry (MAI) officials, on Sunday morning teams were carrying out missions in several places in Bucharest.

Thus, an exercise took place at the Rahova Beer Factory, where two victims had to be rescued from the third floor. One fire engine with water and foam, one extrication team, one fire engine with a large fire escape staircase and two SMURD teams were employed.

At Iutei factory, two victims trapped under rubble had to be rescued from the first floor, the building being considered partially collapsed. One multi-risk container, one fire engine, three SMURD ambulances and one extrication team were employed, a total of 22 rescuers.

At the Police Academy, the scenario consisted of five persons trapped under rubble, one in serious condition.

Likewise, the setting up of two camps for displaced people started at the stadiums in Afumati and Voluntari.

“They have a capacity of 200 persons per camp. Volunteers co-opted by NGOs also intervene in support of the firefighting units,” Interior Ministry employees pointed out.


160  doctors and medical assistants from Israel


160 doctors and medical assistants from Israel have arrived in support of the mobile medical teams working to rescue the injured.

They landed on the night of Saturday to Sunday, at Air Base 90 ‘Otopeni.’ On Sunday, at 8 p.m., they were expected to work within Israel’s Type 3 field hospital. Type 3 hospitals are the most advanced, having a large capacity to handle victims and the possibility to carry out complex medical procedures.

“The Israeli hospital is equipped at the highest standards and offers special care to victims/affected persons, including through the possibility of carrying out surgical interventions (paediatric, face and jaw, reconstructive etc.) and of ensuring intensive care areas,” Interior Ministry representatives pointed out.

Likewise, according to the scenario, Bucharest hospitals were no longer able to handle the large number of injured persons, 12 persons – six of them on life support – being airlifted to Cluj-Napoca.

According to the latest information offered by the Civil Contingencies Department (DSU), approximately 12 hours after the mock earthquake 450 persons were registered dead, almost 1,800 injured and more than 3,200 missing. Likewise, 30,000 people were displaced, two hundred buildings had collapsed and almost two thousand were damaged.

The Head of State decreed a state of emergency, at the request of the National Committee for Civil Contingencies.

According to the scenario of “Earthquake 2018”, on Saturday at 8:37 in the eastern Vrancea area a major earthquake of over 7.5 degrees on the Richter scale occurred, the seismic wave targeting Sofia and Chisinau, via Bucharest – Alexandria and Iasi.

The drill above-mentioned, says a MAI release, wishes to bring together all of the responsible leadership, coordination and response structures at local, regional and national level, in case of a major earthquake with multiple victims.


Following assessments, we shall see the legislative shortcomings, says PM Dancila


The simulation of an earthquake measuring plus 7.5 degrees on the Richter scale will allow the identification of possible legislative shortcomings, but will also represent an alarm signal for the population that has to be aware of necessary measures in case of a major earthquake, on Saturday said Prime minister Viorica Dancila, present at one of the spots where the national exercise “Earthquake 2018” at the Bucharest Police Academy unfolds.

Also attending the drill, the state secretary in the Home Affairs Ministry (MAI) physician Raed Arafat explained that the exercise that consists in the rescue of the victims caught under the rubble, is meant to identify aspects that must be improved or reorganised.

“A vulnerability is not immediately unearthed. We shall have assessors everywhere. Here is an assessor, too, who is scanning the website. After this, we shall have their reports that will be analysed. Each one will bring their own viewpoint that they believe it could be improved. We already have a NATO assessor. Other two will be here soon (…) and we’ll have from the USA, too. On behalf of the European Commission are to arrive several assessors,” Arafat added.

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