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News | May 13, 2019

Multinational Disaster Response Forces Conduct FA-HUM Training in Dominican Republic

By Spc. Miguel Ruiz

BAJO YUNA, Dominican Republic --- Fuerzas Aliadas Humanitarias 2019 observed day two of simulated disaster responses, May 9, 2019, in Bajo Yuna, Dominican Republic. 

Day one of FA-HUM 19 took place at the Dominican Republic Emergency Operations Center in Santo Domingo where command personnel received simulated weather alerts and advisories of imminent floods that would provide the basis for day two’s citizen evacuations and disaster responses.

The Dominican Republic Air Force, Air Force Search and Rescue Squadron, the Dominican Republic Army, Red Cross and other organizations participated in the simulated disasters alongside volunteer civilians.

“About 100 civilians from a small town near Bajo Yuna boarded large buses with the help and coordination of the participating organizations as part of the disaster scenario,” said Daniela Mazuela Abad, a local resident, minister and community leader.

The areas where the simulated evacuations took place flood often when rain is consistent and these simulated scenarios teach citizens the appropriate way to respond to flooding that best protects their families in times of disaster, she added. 

The evacuated citizens were then transported to a flood shelter that was a part of the simulated scenario.

The school where citizens were evacuated to could also be used in real times of disaster, said Angela Paula Polanco, a 4th grade teacher at Centro Educativo Los Guaraguaos.

“It’s important for the school and its students to participate in the scenario because young students learn about the emergency-response systems and share that information with family and friends who would benefit from this knowledge if it were needed,” Polanco added. 

Following the successful completion of the citizen evacuation simulations, waterborne and airborne rescue teams practiced water rescue of civilians in a local river.

The Dominican Republic Air Force Search and Rescue Squadron performed a helicopter-hoisted water rescue in front of a crowd of the Dominican Republic government and non-governmental organizations as well as representatives from partner nation military like Guatamala, El Salvador, the United States of America and several others.

International military partners have regularly attended Fuerzas Aliadas Humanitarias training events that take place at various Latin American countries every year and provide an avenue for training and coordination of disaster-relief plans across the multinational organizations. 

U.S. Army South, based in San Antonio, Texas is sponsoring FA-HUM 19 and seeks to build the Dominican Republic, United States and partner nation capacity for responding effectively to major disasters.

This year more than 100 national experts from over 13 Latin American countries will operate jointly throughout FA-HUM 19 simulations and training events from May 6 - 17, 2019 in the Dominican Republic.