DREE preps for worst disasters

| August 24, 2013 | 0 Comments
Lt. Col. Glenn Donelin (right), civil affairs officer, USARPAC, facilitates discussion between members of the Bangladesh military, civil and government organizations during  the 2013 Pacific Resilience DREE.

Lt. Col. Glenn Donelin (right), civil affairs officer, USARPAC, facilitates discussion between members of the Bangladesh military, civil and government organizations during the 2013 Pacific Resilience DREE.

Story and photo by Sgt. 1st Class Mary Ferguson
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Historical patterns in the region, here, reflect that the heavily populated country, which sits on three crossing fault lines, is three decades overdue for a major earthquake.

In an effort to prepare for the massive impact that such an unpredictable disaster would have on the country, U.S. Army-Pacific partnered with the Bangladesh Armed Forces Division (AFD) and government in developing a realistic exercise that brings together civil and military experts to build a framework of regional collaboration, readiness and response.

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Ambassader Dan Mozena, U.S Embassy, Dhaka, emphasizes the importance of disaster preparedness and sets the tone of collaboration while addressing members of U.S. and Bangladesh military, government and civil organizations during the 2013 Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Exercise & Exchange (DREE) opening ceremony, here, Aug. 18. The four-day DREE, led by U.S. Army-Pacific and the Bangladesh Government and Armed Forces Division, is a civil-military disaster preparedness and response initiative featuring tabletop and field training exercises focused on command and control, urban search and rescue, engineering capacity, and debris management. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Mary Ferguson, 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs)

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Ambassader Dan Mozena, U.S Embassy, Dhaka, emphasizes the importance of disaster preparedness and sets the tone of collaboration while addressing members of U.S. and Bangladesh military, government and civil organizations during the 2013 Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Exercise & Exchange (DREE) opening ceremony, here, Aug. 18. The four-day DREE, led by U.S. Army-Pacific and the Bangladesh Government and Armed Forces Division, is a civil-military disaster preparedness and response initiative featuring tabletop and field training exercises focused on command and control, urban search and rescue, engineering capacity, and debris management. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Mary Ferguson, 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs)

USARPAC, Bangladesh AFD, government and civil organizations, and international observers kicked off the 2013 Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Exercise & Exchange (DREE) during an opening ceremony, Sunday.

The four-day DREE was the fourth annual humanitarian assistance/disaster relief engagement between USARPAC and the Bangladesh AFD, and its goal is to operationalize a multinational coordination center plan that integrates response across civil and military institutions.

“It is not a question of whether. It is not question of if. It is only a question of when,” explained U.S. Ambassador Dan Mozena. “When will Dhaka be hit by a large magnitude earthquake? If Dhaka were hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, then about 20 percent of the 350,000 buildings in this great mega city, would collapse.”

While Bangladesh is accustomed to thinking about the unthinkable and is often considered a global model of preparedness for various types of natural disasters, the country has little to no experience with earthquake response. Through exercises such as DREE, America continues to assist Bangladesh in preparing for such a disaster.

“Events like the DREE contribute to our common goal of humanity,” said Lt. Gen Abu Beial Mohammad Shafiul Haque, the Bangladesh AFD’s principal staff officer. “Let us all work together and combine our efforts and mitigate the impact of natural disasters.”

The 2013 DREE was designed to maximize best practices and leverage subject matter expertise, opening with expert presentations on earthquake vulnerability in Bangladesh, U.S. disaster management response, the Standing Order on Disasters and the National Disaster Management Act, the Dhaka City earthquake contingency response plan, and international disaster response.

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Members of the Bangladesh Armed Forces Division and other Bangladesh civil and government organizations gather for the 2013 Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Exercise & Exchange (DREE) opening ceremony, here, Aug. 18. The four-day DREE, led by U.S. Army-Pacific and the Bangladesh Government and Armed Forces Division, is a civil-military disaster preparedness and response initiative featuring tabletop and field training exercises focused on command and control, urban search and rescue, engineering capacity, and debris management. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Mary Ferguson, 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs)

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Members of the Bangladesh Armed Forces Division and other Bangladesh civil and government organizations gather for the 2013 Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Exercise & Exchange (DREE) opening ceremony, here, Aug. 18. The four-day DREE, led by U.S. Army-Pacific and the Bangladesh Government and Armed Forces Division, is a civil-military disaster preparedness and response initiative featuring tabletop and field training exercises focused on command and control, urban search and rescue, engineering capacity, and debris management. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Mary Ferguson, 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs)

A tabletop exercise provided a forum for 128 participants to brainstorm and engage in discussions related to a major earthquake scenario, and a field training exercise allowed 450 participants to apply those discussions in a practical setting at the Fire Service & Civil Defense Training Academy in Mirpur.

The field exercise hinged on four major areas: command and control, search and rescue, engineering and debris management. It featured a rubble pile built by Bangladesh AFD to simulate a collapsed building, providing realistic search and rescue training opportunities for civil organizations and rescue volunteers.

The DREE concluded with a full day dedicated to an after-action review, where participants evaluated and shared what they thought went well and what can be improved to enhance future exchanges and maximize preparedness.

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Category: Deployed Forces, Exercises, News, Training

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