DVIDS – News – U.S., Azerbaijan Participate in Natural Disaster Response Tabletop Exercise in Baku

BAKU, Azerbaijan — A team of seven U.S. subject matter experts traveled to Baku for a workshop and emergency response exercise Sept. 20-22. The event was organized in coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Baku and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Civil-Military Emergency Preparedness Program, under the aegis of the Institute for Governance of security of the Agency for Security and Defense Cooperation.

The US team supporting the workshop, made up of experts from the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Oklahoma National Guard, worked with first responders to improve domestic and international cooperation in Azerbaijan in the field. emergency planning and preparedness. Workshop events included presentations, discussions of lessons learned, and a culminating tabletop exercise to challenge the nearly two dozen participants.

The Oklahoma National Guard has a 20-year partnership with Azerbaijan to help the country build its military capabilities. Their experiences fighting wildfires and helping Oklahoma communities deal with floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, snowstorms and other emergencies were especially valuable to the workshop. .

“All participants in this event understand the importance of civil protection issues, because natural disasters occur unexpectedly and can be of enormous scale,” said Major General Niyazi Zamanov, head of the Department of civil defense at the Azerbaijani Ministry of Emergencies. Situations. “We must be prepared in order to minimize the impacts of such disasters.”

The exercise scenario involved an earthquake causing widespread damage in a mountainous region of the country during the winter, leading the government to activate response efforts focusing on mass care and sheltering. Led by the Ministry of Emergencies, representatives from various government agencies and organizations participated in the roundtables, including the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Digital Development and Transport, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, State Customs Committee, as well as Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society.

“We in the United States face many of the same challenges as Azerbaijan when working with the media and coordinating with multiple agencies throughout a natural disaster,” said the director of military programs at the USACE, Dr. Christine Altendorf. “That’s why planning is so important.”

Altendorf said the atmosphere of the workshop was all about sharing, learning, and improving all participants. She is responsible for executing USACE’s global program for engineering, construction, real estate, and environmental activities in support of the Army, Air Force, other Department of Defense and Federal agencies and foreign nations.

The exercise provided the Azerbaijani government with an opportunity for continuous improvement in planning and preparedness to respond to natural and man-made disasters in the country and was conducted in cooperation with the Preparedness Program Civil-Military Emergencies, which supports NATO partner nations in building capacity for all-hazards and disaster preparedness.

“All of the Azerbaijani people we worked with are highly skilled professionals, and this workshop and exercise gave them the opportunity to continue collaborating with their colleagues from other organizations,” said Diane Acurio, Project Manager of USACE. “I think this event was very successful in that it brought together a number of people who will work closely together in future crisis response efforts.”

Acurio has been running CMEP events in Azerbaijan since 2008, fostering a lasting relationship with emergency response professionals in the country.

CMEP program events, executed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, focus on facilitating interdepartmental and civil-military cooperation, building the capabilities of the armed forces to provide defense support to civil authorities, and regional cooperation/ multilateralism to support disaster response.

Date taken: 22.09.2022
Date posted: 23.09.2022 15:33
Story ID: 429998
Location: BAKU, AZ

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