US Southern Command assists with disaster mitigation exercises

Most of the country is under the effects of a passing trough bringing rains and flooding to large areas of the nation. Adding to this is the series of lesser earthquakes affecting the country, the memory of the November flood in Santo Domingo, and the annual hurricane season starting in June. The Center of Emergency Operations (COE) now announces ongoing practice exercises to mitigate critical situations in collaboration with the United States.

The Emergency Operations Center (COE), together with the Ministry of Defense and the United States Southern Command, began this Monday, 22 May 2023 the CETAM-Guardian 2023 exercise to practice and update the contingency plans in the case of hydrological or seismic disasters with a focus on humanitarian assistance.

The Ministry of Defense practices are carried out in conjunction with the United States Southern Command and Army and the Puerto Rico National Guard.

The director of the COE Juan Manuel Mendez García says that the activities will last from Monday, 22 May through Wednesday, 31 May 2023. They will be centered in places such as the Felix Sanchez Olympic Stadium, the Port of Haina and the San Isidro Air Base. Rains produced by a stationary trough will be simulated, and events in sequence, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, in addition to the rescue, transfer and care of injured.

Méndez García emphasized the exercise activates response units of the 22 institutions that make up the COE so these are prepared to respond to natural events which may occur in the country. Rescue units of the Police and Military Commission of the Ministry of Public Works (Comipol) and the Civil Defense were particularly involved in the exercise. The exercise also puts into practice the National Emergency Telecommunications Plan, the evacuation procedure of buildings, urban search and rescue, installation of mobile hospitals, response to the spill of hazardous chemicals.

He said that with these tools, the men and women of the civil protection and military organizations will considerably increase their capacity for action in the event of any disaster. He pointed out that this year, with global warming, the national territory has suffered from a strong drought and forest fires.

The United States Embassy reports that CG23 is an annual multinational exercise designed to build humanitarian assistance/disaster response functional capacity, enhance readiness to combat common threats, and promote cooperation and interoperability between participating forces.

The United States participants include elements from the 321st Civil Affairs Brigade, 350th Civil Affairs Command, Puerto Rico National Guard, USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, US Army South, and US Southern Command.

The US Army South is the land component for US Southern Command. CG23 supports US Southern Command’s initiative to enhance multinational and regional cooperation, trust, and confidence through consistent engagements with allies and partners in the Western Hemisphere.

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US Embassy
Diario Libre

23 May 2023