After the big explosion in the port area of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, as the duty chief of the UNIFIL Joint Operations Center, I participated in the command of the rescue operation throughout the entire process——
Experience the rescue of Beirut explosion accident
After the explosion in the port area of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, UNIFIL helicopters prepared to take off for rescue operations.
On October 28, the Chinese peacekeepers who successfully completed the post-disaster reconstruction assistance mission in Beirut were commended by the Lebanese government.
As a witness to the rescue of the Beirut explosion accident, I am proud of the honor that my comrades in arms have won.
On August 4, a large explosion occurred in the port area of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, causing heavy casualties. At that time
I was serving as the duty chief of the Joint Operations Center at the headquarters of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and I participated in the command of the rescue operation during the explosion accident.
The main responsibilities of the duty director include comprehensive situational awareness in the mission area, coordination of inter-departmental actions, and handling of emergencies. After the explosion
I received a notice from my superior and rushed to the joint operations center on the basement floor of the office area. According to the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force report, a warship docked in Beirut Port was damaged in the explosion
and some soldiers on the deck were injured. The details are unknown.
I immediately further verified the situation with the medical officer of the command and the maritime operations center, and coordinated the helicopter to prepare for emergency medical evacuation.
An ambulance convoy sent by UNIFIL arrived at the scene and confirmed that a total of 21 Bangladeshi soldiers were injured in the explosion, of which 3 soldiers were seriously injured and in critical condition.
Due to the limited conditions of the local hospital in Beirut and its paralysis due to the explosion, the Joint Operations Center immediately ordered the dispatch of three helicopters to transfer the seriously injured to the southern Lebanese city of Saida for treatment.
At that time, the situation was urgent and the explosion site was in chaos, but the entire rescue process from condition confirmation to action decision to approval to implement was quick and efficient.
I personally believe that the scientific and standardized operating mechanism of UNIFIL has played an important role in this process.
UNIFIL has more than 10,000 peacekeepers from 45 troop-contributing countries. Multi-language cultures and different military systems converge here. It is no easy task to achieve unified organization and command, coordinate actions of all parties, and complete tasks efficiently.
To this end, UNIFIL has set up a three-level command structure of “mission area-theater (fleet)-battalion (ship)”. Especially at the mission area level, it has set up full-time and part-time combination, land and sea joint, military and civilian coordination.
The joint operations center, theater (fleet) and battalion (ship) levels have set up corresponding tactical operations centers. In this way, the centralization and unification of organization and command is realized, and the relative independence of each task unit is maintained, which ensures the efficient and smooth execution of various instructions.
In addition, UNIFIL has also formulated Standard Operating Procedures and Standard Procedures for Situation Handling that cover different tasks, as well as descriptions of duties covering various positions.
As the basis for accepting tasks, carrying out work, appraisal, and investigating accountability, these normative documents ensure the smooth implementation of various UNIFIL operations.
In accordance with standardized procedures and response plans, UNIFIL’s rescue operations against the Beirut explosion were carried out in an orderly manner.
While participating in the rescue command, I drafted a “flash report” to the UN Headquarters in accordance with the instructions of my superiors.
This kind of “flash report” is sent through the internal mail system. It does not seek completeness and detail, but seeks to be fast and accurate; it does not stick to the format and routines, and strives to clarify the key points.
The information office model based on the mail system is highly popular within UNIFIL.
This practice shortens the working link and improves the efficiency of communication.
The comprehensive application of various technical means played an important role in this rescue command. For a long time, the joint operations center has continuously optimized the integrated situational awareness system according to the needs of emergency response.
Creating a powerful operation interaction platform serving global peacekeeping operations. Especially since the outbreak of the Coronavirus
UNIFIL has actively promoted the application of remote interaction technologies such as video conferencing and cloud sharing
which provided strong support for the smooth deployment of the rescue.
The ambulance team completed its mission and returned to the headquarters camp, and my mission came to an end temporarily. At this time, it was the early morning of August 5th in China
and messages of concern and greetings were flooding in. I was moved to report safety. Witnessing the Beirut explosion, a hot event that is of great concern to the international community, as the commander of Chinese peacekeepers participating in United Nations rescue operations
and contributing to the reconstruction of Beirut after the disaster, this experience will be an unforgettable memory in my life.