Argentinean and Chilean Chiefs of Staff Perform Disaster Cooperation Exercise
By Dialogo November 01, 2012
Simulating an earthquake in order to train for a potential disaster needing the cooperation of both countries, the Joint Staff of Chile carried out joint-combined training exercise “Solidaridad 2012” with its Argentinean counterparts from October 15 – 19 in the province of Mendoza, Argentina.
The opening ceremony for this event was carried out on October 16, and some of the attendees included exercise director, Major General Jorge Robles Mella from Chile; Commander of the VIII Mountain Brigade, Major General Alejandro López, from Argentina, as well as other local authorities of the area. Mendiza Governor Francisco Pérez referred to the joint-combined exercise as an opportunity to “create a space of mutual trust, as well as to reaffirm the cooperation process and exchange of knowledge and professional capabilities.”
Gen. Robles, Director of Operations and Strategic Planning for Chile’s Joint Chief of Staff, shared the exercise leadership, and stated that “the international agenda is currently looking for different mechanisms to address this concern, something that Chile and Argentina have been doing for a long time since the Defense ministers of both countries signed a cooperation agreement related to catastrophes, creating a support system between the Armed Forces based on manuals and related exercises, to prepare to act jointly, whenever required.”
Gen. López also made reference to these agreements, and considered these meetings as part of history, since “we see the Andes mountains as a point of convergence, and we see this exercise as a new embrace between San Martín and O’Higgins. The Chilean Armed Forces are top tier: they are professional, cohesive, and they are valued and respected by us. They represent, better than anyone, the joint work we can perform in case of any disaster situation we may be faced with.”
Natural disasters have increased the initiatives to mobilize and coordinate international community efforts, in order to properly address the population’s needs. Facing this situation, enlivened by the spirit of solidarity and neighboring will, Chile and Argentina signed a disaster agreement in August 1997, that is still being ratified by both Congresses, and which entails a cooperation system between the Armed Forces.
During the exercise, lectures related to the Armed Forces in crisis management and the Chilean Emergency and Civil Protection System were performed, as well as briefings about aspects related to the occurrence of an earthquake by the Argentinean side.
The exercise consisted of activities that included Military media from both nations, as well as civil and state organizations across the Andes, through different fictitious situations: air and land evacuations; operation in evacuee centers; launch and recovery of cargo; installation and operation of health camps, drinking water collection, treatment, distribution, and supply; bridge construction; search and rescue of people under debris; and spillage of toxic substances.