IOM Assists Disaster Response Exercise in Micronesia and the Marshall Islands
Representatives from central and state governments, USAID, the US
Coast Guard, the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),
UNOCHA and diplomatic missions met in Pohnpei, FSM, and Majuro,
RMI, last week for a major disaster preparedness exercise.
The Operational Blueprint Tabletop Exercise was jointly
facilitated by the US Agency for International Development and the
FSM and RMI governments, with operational support from the Joint
Taskforce for Homeland Defence and IOM.
The exercise, the first of its kind, created a hypothetical
typhoon scenario aimed at testing preparedness, response and
reconstruction. The scenario included damage or destruction to up
to 90% of private residences and extensive damage to public
infrastructure inflicted by a Category 3 typhoon.
It offered participants an opportunity to analyse, plan and
coordinate response efforts in order to minimize the risk to
communities. It also helped them to assess their state of
readiness, discuss coordination mechanisms and identify gaps to be
addressed prior to the imminent typhoon season.
In addition, it familiarized them with the Operational Blueprint
- a document which outlines the US disaster assistance process in
the FSM and the RMI, for which USAID assumed responsibility in
IOM, as a principal implementation partner providing operational
support to USAID, briefed some 165 participants in both countries
on the details of its USAID-funded Disaster Mitigation Relief and
"Micronesian and US officials taking part in the exercise
described it as constructive and hoped that it could be organized
annually to improve preparedness and ensure optimum coordination in
the event of a major natural disaster in the region," said IOM
official, Ashley Carl.
While US officials were in Pohnpei and Majuro, they visited two
out of three of IOM's logistics bases in region, which house
pre-positioned humanitarian relief equipment and supplies. IOM has
a third base in Yap.
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