Pacific Resilience concludes in Nepal
KATMANDU, Nepal -- Marines and sailors of III Marine Expeditionary Force participated in the closing ceremony of Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange Sept. 12 in Katmandu, Nepal.
During the exercise, which took place Sept. 9-12, participants were able to further common emergency preparedness, response and recovery goals through academic sessions and field-training activities at the Nepal Army Headquarters and various sites throughout Katmandu to put these goals into practice.
In the exercise, the U.S. military, acting as Joint Task Force 505, at the request of the government of Nepal and as directed by the U.S. Agency for International Development and Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, responded to a catastrophic earthquake in Nepal with unique capabilities in support of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts to save lives and mitigate human suffering. This allowed participants to practice with actual response procedures and requests for assistance.
“This exercise is instrumental in cultivating civil-military cooperation, emergency preparedness and enhanced response capabilities,” said U.S. Marine Maj. Jude Shell, III MEF exercise planner. “It builds upon the table-top exercise we conducted in February, and from this we adapted procedures, developed a common understanding of certain problems, and refined best practices that directly impacted this field-training exercise.”
Participants included the Nepalese Army, the government of Nepal, U.S. Army Pacific, III MEF, and representatives from international organizations, non-governmental organizations and multinational observers.
“I am confident that this practical exercise conducted during Pacific Resilience, along with the relationships that (we) have all cemented this week, will have a lasting impact on disaster response mechanisms in Nepal,” said Peter Bodde, U.S. ambassador to Nepal. “The success of (our) work this week and (our) future collaboration will be manifested in expeditious relief, coordinated response, and ultimately the number of lives saved when a disaster strikes.”
During the exercise, participants established coordination and operations centers, and worked through various complex exercise injections. The field environment prompted a much greater understanding of the various civil and military organizations involved. This facilitated a better appreciation for the coordination required between these organizations to respond to such an event.
“Seamless interface between the concerned stakeholders is very important for success of the government of Nepal’s effort in the field of disaster management,” said Napalese Army Lt. Gen. Netra Thapa, the acting chief of Army staff. “Be it civil-military collaboration or international parties rendering assistance during the disaster, there is a need to understand each other’s capabilities, define clear roles, and establish procedures for greater cooperation.”
“The government of Nepal and the Nepalese Army have made great strides in developing capacity to rapidly respond to a potential disaster of the largest proportions,” said Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy, the deputy commanding general of III MEF. “I applaud your efforts and assure you that JTF-505 will respond immediately as part of the larger effort to provide assistance in Nepal’s time of need.”