NEWS | Feb. 11, 2019

Cobra Gold19: Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response Exercise Commenced in Thailand

By Master Sgt. Mary Rose Mittlesteadt U.S. Army Pacific Public Affairs Office  

PHITSANULOK, Thailand -- The second annual Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Tabletop Exercise (HADR TTX), as part of the 38th annual Thai, U.S. co-sponsored Cobra Gold Exercise, commenced with opening ceremony in Phitsanulok Province, Thailand, on Feb. 11, 2019. The event is being hosted by Thai Lt. Gen.

Siravuth Wongkantee, Director of Joint Civil Affair Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTArF), in collaboration with Mr. Joseph Martin, the Director of Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DMHA) and Thai Maj. Gen. Jaras Panyadee, the Chief of Staff of 3rd Army Area with participation of nine nations.

The HADR TTX consists of a four-day program to learn and share civil military challenges across a spectrum of operational environments, including international disaster response and complex contingencies. The table top exercise is composed of two parts: the first part will include a focus on international disaster response; and the second part will focus on complex contingencies.

Areas of emphasis discussed throughout the exercise will include: HADR principles, guidelines and practices for civil military interaction across both natural disasters and complex emergencies; roles and responsibilities of core civilian actors operating in the natural disasters and complex emergencies; coordination concepts, guidance and mechanisms to support effective civil-military coordination in and across these operational environments; and protection of civilians and international humanitarian law.

“Every year disaster strikes in every corner of the world. Some of these disasters are sudden and unexpected,” said Wongkantee during opening remarks. “Regardless of the cause, planning preparation prior to disasters can reduce the impacts and allow better response and recovery.”
The goal of this exercise is to increase participant understanding of the many actors within the HADR realm and how they coordinate and coexist in a shared operational environment.

“It is significant and important for all nations to strengthen engagement and exchange insights in a pre-disaster environment,” added Wongkantee. “The work of disaster management requires cooperation between countries.”

The event will bring together subject matter experts from the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), Kingdom of Thailand; the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), RedR Australia, and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The HADR includes approximately 100 participants from all nine (full and limited) participating nations, including Thailand, United States of America, Singapore, Japan, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea.

The Cobra Gold 19 Exercise program will also include a HADR Field Training Exercise (FTX) from 18-20 February at the Chachoengsao Province.