In the fight against the pandemic, the Brazilian Armed Forces are undertaking several activities, including ensuring the water supply, transporting protective equipment, disinfecting areas, food distribution, blood donations, and guidance for the population.
The Brazilian Air Force (FAB, in Portuguese), launched its initiative on May 4. FAB’s Logistics Support Operations Group, which specializes in logistics support for operations and exercises, is lending its expertise and equipment to prepare and distribute 800 meals a day. The meals are provided to truck drivers who drive around the Port of Santos region, the largest in Latin America.
Sanitary restrictions that closed rest areas along Brazilian highways affected cargo shipment activities. To ensure service continuity, FAB took on the mission of providing meals for truck drivers. A field structure, which was set up along the highway leading to the port, could increase production by up to 3,000 meals. FAB’s initiative will continue uninterrupted for the next 60 days, involving more than 50 service members.
The Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese) provides another essential supply: water. Although most of its operations have been suspended, the Northern Military Command continues to carry out Operation Water Truck (Operação Carro-Pipa). In late April, about two million people had access to potable water, thanks to water trucks. EB contracts out vehicles and drivers, and deploys 950 service members to coordinate and supervise water distribution to 600 towns in the Brazilian semiarid region.
Blood drives launched in April are another operating front for EB, with each military organization operating independently. The goal is to help replenish blood banks — civilian for the majority — that have drastically lost their blood inventory due to the restrictions that social distancing requirements impose.
“We are willing to encourage blood donation among our service members, whenever blood banks are in need,” said Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Augusto de Fassio Morgero, commander of Uberlândia 36th Mechanized Infantry Battalion,Minas Gerais state. So far, more than 500 volunteers have donated.
Although operations have slowed down, service members from EB’s paratrooper group are manufacturing protective face masks. The assembly line consists of a group of 38 service members. Production reaches 400 masks per day, which are sent to civilians and the military community.
Other military teams nationwide are manufacturing personal protective equipment. Together, they manufacture a daily total of 4,000 disposable and reusable masks. Organizations such as EB’s 22nd Light Airborne Logistics Battalion adapted their vehicles’ maintenance shop and trained their personnel to sew.
A group of FAB service members are also helping with the activity. “Our goal is to preserve the health of our service members and ensure that the institutional mission is fulfilled,” said FAB Colonel Marcos Dias Marschall.
The Brazilian Navy (MB, in Portuguese) mobilizes teams of experts in biological defense to conduct decontamination operations in hospitals and other areas throughout Brazil.
MB also focuses on bringing preventive guidelines to the population — especially in remote areas, such as the Amazon region, with a riverside population of about 37,000 people — as well as distributing food and hygiene products . MB delivered more than 9,000 basic food baskets to Brazilians in need.