Being Prepared on the Ring of Fire

One of the world’s areas most prone to natural disasters is the Asia-Pacific region. It is through readiness exercises, such as Cobra Gold 2012, that nations on the Pacific Rim are able to prepare for the next crisis. These exercises, in turn, are a cooperative effort between the U.S. military’s U.S. Pacific Command, or PaCom, and a host of nations that call the region home.

The recent Rim of the Pacific exercise is another prime example of Pacific nations and the U.S. military preparing for the eventuality of a regional disaster in some form. This was the first time in the exercise’s 31 incarnations that humanitarian efforts and disaster relief figured into the overall scenario, according to www.defense.gov.

The more nations that can be involved in such exercises, the better that the region’s overall response will be when dealing with anything mother nature throws at it. A crisis in one area of the region has potential consequences in another part, all nations in the Pacific region need to work together to develop ways to deal with such disasters. These can range from cyclones to earthquakes, and even volcanic eruptions — all of which, while seemingly local in area, can spread to other regions via floods, tsunamis, and the potential for displacement of segments of the population as a result of such crises.

Learning how to work in conjunction with other nations is important for overall recovery efforts. Who knows which area a specific natural disaster will affect? Preparing for the worst allows all involved to be better able to deal with disaster when it inevitably comes. That is the goal of the U.S. PaCom: the preparation of the Pacific Rim region for the next big disaster, not for “if” it comes but for “when” it comes.

For more information about the U.S. PaCom’s work on crises management in the Pacific Rim, visit: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=117750