Sunday, May 3, 2009

Regional Disaster Relief Exercise Brings Nations Together for Common Good

More than 20 Asia-Pacific nations will take part in a four-day Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum (ARF) disaster relief exercise May 4-8 in Central Luzon, Philippines.

The civilian-led, military supported ARF Voluntary Demonstration of Response (ARF-VDR) is co-sponsored by the Republic of the Philippines and the U.S. Of the 20 countries taking part, 12 will provide equipment and personnel, according to the Philippines National Disaster Coordinating Council. Delegates are scheduled to attend from a variety of Southeast Asia nation, as well as others from throughout Asia-Pacific and the European Union.

The ARF-VDR is designed to display ARF nations’ civil and military disaster response capabilities.

As announced by the U.S. Department of State, following a hypothetical super-typhoon, participating countries will offer assistance in response to a Philippine Government request for international humanitarian relief. Areas of demonstration include land, air and maritime search and rescue, medical assistance/evacuation and engineering reconstruction.

Joint civil-military projects, to which a small number of U.S. service members will contribute support, include reconstruction of a school building, construction of a bridge, installation of a water system and medical services for approximately 8,000 Filipinos in the Central Luzon area.

The ARF-VDR is a strong example of international cooperation between a variety of nations and agencies to enhance and develop capabilities that can benefit the entire region – an ideal shared and fostered by U.S. Pacific Command.

Keep up with the ARF-VDR on the Philippine Information Agency’s page for the event, as well as the Asia-Pacific Area Network (APAN) ARF-VDR site.

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