Vietnam, U.S. hold civil-military exercise ahead of Obama visit

By Toan Dao   May 15, 2016 | 11:25 am GMT+7
Vietnam, U.S. hold civil-military exercise ahead of Obama visit
Sr. Col. Pham Van Ty (center), deputy chief of Vietnam’s National Committee for Incident, Disaster Response, and Search and Rescue, and Peter DeFelice, U.S. senior event coordinator with the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance, discuss scenario details during the first-ever U.S.-Vietnam Disaster Response and Civil-Military Coordination Table Top Exercise in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 10. Photo by Melissa Aaron/ CFE-DM

Vietnam and the United States have conducted their first-ever disaster response and civil-military drill in Hanoi just days before Obama visit on May 22.

The four-day excercise, beginning May 10, was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM) and hosted by Vietnam’s National Committee for Incident, Disaster Response, and Search and Rescue (VINASARCOM). It aims to assist Vietnam in shaping guidelines for managing international disaster assistance through training briefs and working group sessions, CFE-DM said in a statement earlier this week.

It included participants from Vietnam People’s Armed Forces, U.S. Embassy, U.S. Pacific Command, Oregon National Guard, U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Nearly 40 U.S. participants and approximately 150 Vietnamese senior leaders and disaster response stakeholders have considered whether Vietnam should request international assistance after a fictional super typhoon causes severe damage to several northern and central provinces. The training scenario is focused on four areas of expertise: maritime search and rescue, urban search and rescue, chemical spill response, and medical assistance and field hospital deployment.
“Vietnam and the United States have mutual interests in humanitarian assistance and disaster response training and preparation,” said Deputy Chief of Mission Susan Sutton, U.S. Embassy Hanoi. Humanitarian assistance and disaster response engagements and exchanges are a pillar of the Defense Cooperation memorandum of understanding signed by the two countries in 2011. The exercise this year is seen as a pratical way to realize their defense cooperation commitment, he said.

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