Soldiers from the U.S. Army Pacific and China’s People’s Liberation Army are participating in a disaster management exchange at Kilauea Military Camp on the Big Island through Nov. 26.
Public Affairs Officer Maj. Oliver Schuster said in an email that the concept of the exchange focuses on a fictitious volcanic eruption in a third-world country and the subsequent humanitarian and disaster response by the U.S. Army, the People’s Liberation Army and a multinational coordination center led by the disaster-stricken nation.
“Throughout the course of the exchange, there will be numerous United Nations humanitarian assistance and disaster response … presentations based on lessons learned from foreign and domestic humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations,” he said.
Schuster said the event consists of “an expert academic discussion, the formation of a multinational coordination center during the table top exchange and a practical field exchange providing an opportunity for U.S. and Chinese personnel to work together” in response to the fictitious disaster.
According to Schuster, a “table top exchange” examines ways to promote international coordination in response to the volcanic eruption scenario and highlights the importance of a multinational coordination center “as a platform by which both armies can coordinate and synchronize support to a stricken nation.”
The field exchange will run concurrently with the table top exchange and cover displaced civilian operations, medical aid, toxic hazard detection, search and rescue, environmental assessment and clearance debris, he said.
There are approximately 200 participants, including medical, search and rescue, and engineering personnel with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief experience and expertise, Schuster said.
The disaster management exchange is an annual security cooperation event with the People’s Liberation Army that began in 2005.
“The long-established exchange underscores the commitment of both the U.S. and (China) to address security coordination and (humanitarian assistance and disaster response) challenges across the region,” according to a news release from the U.S. Army Pacific.
The exchange rotates annually between locations in mainland China and the United States.
It is part of the U.S. Army Pacific’s Pacific Resilience program, which is a series of exercises and exchanges throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
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