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El Salvador Working With Partners In Disaster Relief Exercise



Published on 11 May 2014



by Carol McClelland

(WireNews)

San Salvador, El Salvador

The opening ceremony on May 5 for FA-HUM, an acronym derived from Fuerzas Aliadas Humanitarias or Humanitarian Allied Forces, kicked off a two-week disaster relief and humanitarian aid exercise, bringing together Central American nations with their North and South American partners to practice disaster response.

During several command-post and field-training exercise scenarios, military, government and nongovernmental agencies will work side-by-side in an effort to better collaborate in humanitarian and disaster cooperation.

“We have experience in facing natural disasters, but we can do them better,” said Major General Rafael Melara Rivera, the chief of the Joint Staff of the El Salvador Armed Forces. He stressed the importance of working together and strengthening coordination efforts for both civilian and military agencies.

In an audience wearing a myriad of uniforms, a band played the national anthem of El Salvador and the national anthem of the United States.

El Salvador’s secretary of vulnerability and director general of civil protection, Jorge Melendez, noted the importance of the exercise.

“FA-HUM 2014 is the first time in which we have command and control at the emergency center,” he said, and then he thanked U.S. Army South for its support. “The United States of America is always there, not only the U.S. but particularly U.S. Army South is always present with us — where the mud is, where the victims are — and we want to thank you,” he said.

More than 400 people are taking part in the exercise, which includes participation from nearly a dozen other countries.

“Training events such as FA-HUM enable us to better prepare by identifying those functions of response, our organization, protocols, procedures and practices, that we can improve, and most importantly our ability to collaborate and coordinate as part of one American family, from Canada to Tierra del Fuego,” said Colonel Larry Dotson, U.S. Army South’s lead exercise planner.

Following the pageantries, the large group began their unwieldy task by listening to briefings on Salvadoran national disaster response plans and specific natural disasters, such as a presentation on a massive earthquake in Chile. On May 5, all were in a listening mode. On May 6, the collaboration began.

 

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Posted 2014-05-11 08:57:00