December 3rd, 2007 14:41 EST
INTERPOL bioterrorist attack exercise
Senior officials from law enforcement and international organizations are taking part in a two-day tabletop exercised hosted by INTERPOL simulating a global bioterrorism attack and its aftermath.
Participants in the "Black Death" scenario are faced with a fictional plague attack involving 10 countries to assist them in identifying critical co-operation and co-ordination issues which would be necessary to respond to such an attack.
`Bioterrorism is the perfect storm of opportunity and motivation and we would be mistaken in treating a worst-case scenario as a remote possibility,` said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.
`This exercise will help focus our joint understanding of the role and responsibility of each of us " police, health care professionals, experts " in response to a bioterrorism incident, as well as identifying possible gaps or redundancies so that we can draw lessons from them.`
Senior law enforcement officials from nine countries and representatives from the following international organizations the European Council, Europol, the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), the UN Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are taking part in the two-day event in Lyon, France.
Moderated by Professor Barry Kellman, legal advisor to INTERPOL`s bioterrorism prevention unit and author of "Bioviolence: Preventing Biological Terror and Crime," the tabletop exercise is the latest in a series of initiatives launched by INTERPOL since the creation of its bioterrorism prevention programme in 2004.
To assist all of its 186 member countries develop their awareness and preparedness in the prevention of bioterrorism, INTERPOL has organised the Global Conference on Preventing Bioterrorism in March 2005, regional workshops in Africa, South America, Europe and Asia, and created a Bioterrorism resource centre to provide police with training materials, online tests and scientific guidelines.