Navies of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico Strengthen Natural Disaster Response

Navies of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico Strengthen Natural Disaster Response

By Juan Delgado/Diálogo  
November 09, 2021

The navies of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Mexico carried out exercise SOLIDAREX II, October 7-24, to assess and strengthen their response capabilities in the event of natural disasters. The forces conducted the exercise in three phases on the Pacific coasts of Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.

Thousands of service members, as well as naval and aeronaval assets from the participating countries, put their response capabilities to the test in different natural disaster scenarios, coordinating efforts under a multinational task force to provide humanitarian assistance.

According to a Peruvian Navy (MGP, in Spanish) statement, the exercise began on the coast of the Andean country with the simulation of a major seismic event, for which the participating navies carried out an amphibious landing with units specialized in search, rescue, and first aid,   with the support of various means, including ships, amphibious vehicles, and helicopters. The operations focused on humanitarian assistance activities to locate and rescue the wounded and provide health and food supplies to the affected population, the Argentine magazine Zona Militar reported.

Participating units provided supplies to the affected population, as part of exercise SOLIDAREX II. (Photo: Ecuadorian Navy)

In the second phase, the navies replicated the amphibious landing with the participation of different naval assets also in response to an earthquake, this time off the coast of Ecuador. “Four countries and more than 1,000 service members, all working in unison for a single common goal,” the Ecuadorian Navy said via Twitter.

In the third phase, participants faced a simulated emergency generated by a tsunami. Seven ships, three urban search and rescue teams, two helicopters, and more than 500 service members deployed on the Colombian Pacific coast, the Colombian Navy said in a statement.

“During the exercise, the participating navies improved their capabilities and skills to perform in a timely and efficient manner, amid the damage those meteorological and natural phenomena create, and also exchanged knowledge on tactics, procedures, and techniques […] with the purpose of increasing interoperability,” the Colombian Navy said.

SOLIDAREX was carried out for the first time in October 2019, as the first combined humanitarian assistance exercise in the Pacific Ocean, off the coasts of Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, a region vulnerable to natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and droughts.