Humanitarian Assistance

​Our Humanitarian Assistance programs and exercises are aimed at improving the capacity of U.S. and partner nation forces to respond to humanitarian crises. SOUTHCOM works in concert with other U.S. government agencies that provide assistance in the region. 

USNS Comfort at Sea.

The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) is anchored off the coast of La Brea, Trinidad and Tobago as the ship prepares for a five-day medical mission. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Morgan K. Nall)

Humanitarian Assistance Photos

Humanitarian Exercises

Our annual humanitarian and civic assistance exercises include the construction of schools, clinics, and water wells in countries throughout the region. At the same time, medical readiness exercises involving teams consisting of doctors, nurses and dentists also provide general and specialized clinical and public health services, in addition to veterinary services, to host nation citizens requiring care. These humanitarian assistance exercises provide services and infrastructure to communities in need while providing training for both deployed U.S. military units and host nation forces. These exercises generally take place in rural areas and are coordinated with the host nation and other U.S. government agencies.

Health care-specific efforts, like the Medical Readiness Training Exercises (MEDRETEs) and Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP), are conducted by small U.S. military medical teams in multiple partner nations dozens of times a year.  These training events enhance the readiness of U.S. military medical forces, provide free medical treatments to communities and attempt to improve the overall level of care of the host nation healthcare system.  Every year these medical exercises provide care to tens of thousands of people.

Humanitarian Assistance Program

Some of the Humanitarian Assistance Program efforts include providing technical aid and facilitating the construction of disaster relief warehouses, emergency operation centers, shelters, and fire stations.

On a consistent basis, Humanitarian Assistance Program officials at the command’s headquarters are planning, coordinating and facilitating the provision and improvement of emergency response infrastructure and capabilities throughout the region. We also sponsor disaster preparedness exercises, seminars, and conferences aimed at improving the collective ability of the U.S. and partner nations to respond effectively and expeditiously to disasters. This type of multinational disaster preparedness has proven to increase the ability of SOUTHCOM and the U.S. military to work with our partner nations.