Peru’s Armed Forces Prepare for El Niño

Peru’s Armed Forces Prepare for El Niño

By Dialogo
December 09, 2015

I think it's fabulous to have information on the advances and operations of the Latin American Armed Forces. I would like to continue to receive this digital bulletin. The enthusiasm of these youth in representing our country is very pleasing. PERU, PREPARE YOUR SHIPS, ARGENTINA HAS FINALLY DECIDED TO CHANGE ITS GOVERNMENT...NOW WE'RE GOING TO BE BETTER PREPARED.... This is how our army should be again. It should grow through military service that elevates the potential of man and weapons at the same time Good for not waiting till the last minute and not embarrassing the people I don’t need to be a specious meteorologist at SENAMI to know what is going to happen in Lima and in Northern Peru. For years I have been following the changes in the weather here in North America which have an impact during the summer in South America. A fourth of the U.S. is under water and that will be seen in South America, but there will be illiterate donkey disbelievers who will innocently refute me. That is how our army and navy should be again. It should grow through military service which raises human and arms potential at the same time. Ready for what? For the dams to erase us off the map…Please… The best thing the country can have

Peru’s Armed Forces are trained and ready to respond to the El Niño
weather phenomenon that develops in the east-central Equatorial Pacific every two to seven years, potentially causing significant flooding that would put civilians in danger and harm the country’s agricultural and fishing industries.

The Armed Forces are monitoring weather developments and are prepared to deploy as many as 40,600 Troops to provide civilians transportation, food, and medical supplies using Military airplanes and helicopters if necessary, according to a Ministry of Defense statement.

“The Armed Forces Joint Command (CCFFAA) is keeping track of the matter in greater detail to ensure an efficient and timely response to the El Niño
phenomenon,” said Peruvian Air Force Major General Henry Pérez Saavedra in an interview with Diálogo.
“The command and control capabilities, as well as the human and material resources available to the Armed Forces, allow us to fulfill our mission to provide humanitarian aid, transport personnel and cargo, maintain the air bridge, and perform medical air evacuations and search and rescue operations.”

Peru’s government is prepared to face the worst-case scenarios given the imminent arrival of El Niño
through the months of the rainy season (December-March), when the country is at its greatest risk, according to the Joint Command’s website.

“We train every year because high-risk situations always occur. On October 27, we conducted a joint nighttime simulation. We’re ready.”

A coordinated effort

To prepare for El Niño
, the Joint Command launched an intensive plan of integrated military operations and actions, which would complement the efforts of the National Police and other agencies. It will monitor El Niño
’s effects and coordinate with the Emergency Operations Centers, the National Civil Defense Institute, the Ministry of Defense, the Regional Emergency Operations Centers, and other government agencies, including some on the local level.

If needed, the Armed Forces will help distribute humanitarian aid, such as food and medicine, to areas impacted by El Niño
. It will also assist in setting up shelters, transporting injured people to hospitals, removing debris, and re-establishing any disabled communications systems; additionally, the Armed Forces has ordered the deployment of 19 Peruvian Air Force transport planes and more than 20 helicopters to support search and rescue efforts, according to the CCFFAA.

In addition, two Peruvian Navy ships, the BAP Callao and the BAP Tacna, are ready to contribute. The Tacna has a transport capacity of over 7,000 tons and features a modern water desalination and purification system that turns sea water into potable water.

Geographic zones

On land, the Military’s response plan is divided geographically.

“The Peruvian Armed Forces have divided the country into five zones: northern, southern, central, Ucayali, and Loreto when responding to emergencies,” said Admiral Jorge Moscoso, chief of the Joint Command. “We have estimated that the mobilization of personnel and equipment will require approximately 28 million soles [approximately 8.61 million dollars].”

Authorities have been preparing to respond to El Niño
’s possible effects by conducting simulations and strategic deployments in the regions of Tumbes, Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad, Cajamarca, Amazonas, San Martín, Ancash, Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Cusco, Puno, and Junín.

“On August 31, the Armed Forces conducted a joint simulation in the regions of Tumbes, Piura, and Lambayeque pursuant to the strategic plan, in support of the endangered population,” said Maj. Gen. Pérez. There, the Joint Command, through the Maritime Operations Command, deployed the BAP Tacna, which transported 1,500 cubic meters of humanitarian aid, such as medicine and food, to the National Police’s First Brigade for Emergency and Disaster Health Interventions.

The Air Operations Command deployed three fixed-wing aircraft and four helicopters to deliver more than 35,000 kilograms of aid to authorities in those areas. The Northern Operational Command also participated in the simulation.

“The entire Army and Navy have placed their resources at the disposal of the Air Operations Command for deployment, since we are the ones planning the air operations,” said Maj. Gen. Pérez.

The importance of technology

Military authorities are using technology to coordinate the response strategy and simulations.

“We are using our computer systems and we have control mechanisms to monitor the planes and cargo, all in coordination with the authorities.”

In preparing to deal with the potential impact of El Niño,
to which Peru is susceptible, the Air Force "is always one step ahead because we have the most rapid response resources," he said. "When the government wants to deliver humanitarian aid across the country or internationally, it turns to the Air Force."

According to information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, El Niño
(Spanish for The Little Boy) was named around Christmas time in the 1600s by fishermen off the coast of South America who detected mysterious warm currents in the ocean. When the phenomenon takes place, ocean surface temperatures rise periodically, potentially causing torrential rainstorms, floods in coastal and riverside regions, and drought in other areas.

“Currently, the north and central seas along the coast of Peru are seeing an average increase of 3 degrees over usual temperatures,” according to the Joint Command.

In the fall and winter of 1982-1983, the country suffered an estimated $3.2 billion in economic losses from El Niño
’s damage. During that same period from 1997-1998, Peru sustained $3.5 billion in economic damages from that season's El Niño
, according to the Ministry of the Environment.

U.S. cooperation

In addition to the Armed Forces’ coordinated response, officials with the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) are also working with the Peruvian government to develop approaches to reduce damages caused by El Niño
. In 2007, for example, the agency assisted civilians affected by the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in the Ica region that killed more than 500 people.

Additionally, the U.S. government is working with the Peruvian Army Corps of Engineers to construct bridges in declared emergency zones.