Project: Emergency response during bomb attack
Customer: ESD, FCO
Our track record of exceptional response in an emergency was demonstrated during the immediate aftermath of a large vehicle bomb 200m from the British Embassy in Kabul.
FCO Services staff were on-site when the attack took place and played a vital role in getting critical systems up and running and allowing embassy staff to keep working. Immediately after the explosion all staff were evacuated to a bunker for safety. Once the area had been checked, the team focused on getting the Embassy operational again, surveying damage, ensuring safety and prioritising the areas that could quickly be made operational again. Simultaneously our radio team started assessing systems to see what equipment could be salvaged and reused, to get Embassy communications functioning.
One of the buildings was so badly damaged by the explosion that it was placed out of bounds, but it contained a vital server which was in danger of overheating. The team quickly ensured that the server room was made airtight again to keep the communications running.
We were extremely fortunate to have FCO Services at Post undertaking other works at the time of the blast. They were able to assess the immediate damage and confirm which offices and accommodation were safe for habitation, and then worked with the estates manager to prioritise a list of immediate repairs and security works to keep the Embassy safe and functioning. The team were able to deliver repairs across the Embassy compound including quality assurance on the repairs being undertaken as well as the construction of a new Visa/Consular office. Without the assessment and repairs the Embassy would have had to withdraw to an alternate site immediately
FCO Deputy Head Corporate Services, Kabul
Further inspections revealed extensive damage to parts of the mission, revealing much of the accommodation and working space was unusable. Despite a backdrop of civil unrest, with tense public protests outside the compound, small arms fire and a further bomb attack, we worked with local contractors, converting conference rooms into temporary offices, fitting IT and telephone communications, and boarding up windows so that embassy work could resume.
Embassy staff praised the way FCO Services responded in a difficult situation and going the extra mile when it really mattered. We provided a flexible and professional response so Embassy services were operational again, avoiding the impact of major disruption during this crisis.