26 May 2009

Security Meeting

Given the rise in protests and unruly behaviour on the streets of Kathmandu following the resignation of Chairman Prachanda, we had a security meeting. Herewith lie my minutes of said meeting.

Venue: The Lazy Gringo (I recommend the burritto)

Time: Was-meant-to-be-6pm-but-Rob-and-Jess-and-Gemma-and-Dee-come-to-think-of-it-were-late (6.45pm)

Date: 14 May, 2009

Moderator: Rob
Scriber: Jess
Present: Put your hand up if you’re not here. Kat, Gemma and Dee were not present (Gemma and Dee came soon enough though)

The group waived reading of the previous meeting’s minutes as there were none. As everyone had read Susan’s email with security questions, reading of that was also waived. For completeness’ sake, they are included here (but there’s nothing really funny in that part).

“Susan understands the security information that she is providing is still not very good. She is now on an sms link, and will be providing more pertinent updates throughout the day, thru sms and email.

This coming week she is having a meeting with the UN about being included in the Sitreps, and other UN information about security. She has continually begged for this inclusion since taking on the job in 2007. And it had fallen on deaf ears up until now. She is now receiving more updates on a daily basis from AusAID in Kathmandu.
· How are each of you feeling about the daily activities on the streets of Kathmandu?
· What sort of information are your Host Organisations providing to you?
· Are your Host Organisations willing to let you go home early if Susan instructs you to do so?
· How would your Host Organisations react if Susan told you to stay home for the day?
· Susan will ask you for details on email of your supervisor and counterpart mobile phone numbers, so that if necessary she will inform them that she has instructed you to stay at home
· What are the reactions of your family to the flurry of activities on the streets that they are hearing or reading about?
· In the Sanepa and Pulchowk/Kupondole/Jamsikhel area, are you taking precautions about getting home late at night? (The muggings are continuing).
· What about Lazimpat how is it there?
· What about your homes and flats? How secure are you feeling about your security in the house?
· The buddy system of smsing, has broken down already. If the city really hotted up, would you all agree to fulfil this requirement of sending sms messages for you and your buddies?”

ITEM 1 – Security Updates
The group agreed that although at the beginning information on the situation was hard to come by, Susan’s efforts were very good and they were happy with the information provided. Those working at iNGO’s were getting plenty of information, but those at Nepali NGO’s were not. It was decided that we should share informational emails especially from the UN (and not just the daily jokes).

ITEM 2 – Personal Feelings
The group agreed that the current demonstrations were a frustration but easy to navigate. All you had to do to fit into a crowd was grab a flag, an effigy and start burning stuff. But for the most part, demonstrations were avoided.

ITEM 3 – Going Home Early
Most agreed that Susan was in charge, and if she instructed us to go home there would be no problem. Just to be difficult Avi and Chrissy said that the UN would probably not be happy, but usually they would provide security where required, or would have ordered staff home before instructed by Susan.

The same conclusion was reached for Susan ordering AYADs to stay home for the day.

ITEM 4 – Updated Contacts
Susan requested AYADs to provide updated contact details for our counterparts and supervisors.
ACTION: Change the lightbulb in the bathroom – and then remember to email Susan the updated contacts.

ITEM 5 – Family Concerns
Everyone agreed that our families didn’t have the faintest idea what was going on, where Nepal was or what a Prachanda could do for you in the kitchen.

ITEM 6 – Patan Crime
Those in Patan said they were careful out at night and obeyed strict precautions against getting mugged. Woe betide the mugger that tries to steal Celeste’s ‘Last Cigarette’ (break into a Bon Jovi riff).

At this point, Rob interjected on the conversation and told everyone to shut the feck up as he had a meeting to finish.

ITEM 7 – Lazimpat Crime
What crime? Actually someone tried to steal Rob’s bike and he’s not happy about it. No one in the meeting really cared, so Chrissy went on the mention (via printed email in Rob’s hand) that she never walked alone at night but that we are pretty safe. Lazimpat’s AWESOME! [just like Barney]

ITEM 8 – Buddy System
The group disagreed that the system had broken down but that it was unrealistic to SMS Susan every night. Buddies could check on one another and report in to Susan in the unlikely event that someone was a) dead b) uncontactable or c) hooked up in Thamel on Friday night. There was no plan for buddies hooking up with one another and eloping to Pokhara*

Special thanks to the scribe for scribbling out the minutes (NOT).

Meeting Closure: The meeting was closed at about 7.30-ish, maybe? ‘Closing time - you don't have to go home but you can't stay here’.

*likelihood of event occurring – about 35.4%**
**not sure whether same sex marriage is legal in Nepal***
*** technically gay’s are now labelled as third gender, so potentially its not ‘same sex’****
**** what am I TALKING ABOUT?


Kez said...

Haha sounds productive - hope you stay safe!

Isa said...

Seriously, your ICM sounds rubbish - why doesn't she have your up-to-date contact details? The onus is on her, not you, to get this info - that's what she's getting PAID to do! I feel sorry for you guys - our ICM was awesome in comparison. Like when the cyclone was going to hit Tongatapu, all the phone lines were out, so everyone who he couldn't get into phone contact with, he went and found PERSONALLY To let them know what to do, how to hole up and take care etc. Coz that's his JOB!

I guess we are also lucky in that Tonga has an Aussie High Commission, and we were all on the email list there, so got very regular updates on any potentially dangerous situations, though in Tonga's case it's mostly natural disasters - earthquakes, volcanos, cyclones!

But seriously, I can't believe Susan hasn't even discussed with the HO's whether they'd allow you to go home in an emergency - pfft! Hopeless! Good on you guys for having the initaitive to mobilise as far as a team meeting!

Jessica said...

I object to the scribe bashing comment. Clearly I had NO idea what the feck was going on I was so far away from the conversation and my taco's were going cold. And then...Susan told you to write the minutes and send them....I got shelved. Unfriendly!



PS. I think I made up for it by the saving of a canine on the way home, so unfail me.
PPS. I was in no fit state to do anything anyway because my buddy had up and left and landed in Pokhara. What to do? Ke garne?

Dash said...

oh Jessicles, you poor thing.

I appreciate the taco's going cold comment. I had the same thing going on with my burrito.

You can be scribe at the next meeting!