Earthquake survivor teaches US, Filipino soldiers lessons on disaster response

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04:14 PM April 18th, 2012

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By: Frances Mangosing, April 18th, 2012 04:14 PM

MANILA, Philippines—A Japanese survivor of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake more than a year ago who is now part of Japan Self-Defense Force’s (JSDF) Disaster and Response Operations on Monday taught the Philippine and United States military some valuable lessons on humanitarian assistance and disaster response as part of Balikatan exercises.

“In my country, when disaster strikes, the local governors in each respective prefectures are to issue the JSDF aid request to local military unit. Upon receiving the request, the unit will either conduct disaster response operations (DR Ops) or pass the word to the other units, other branches, depending on the scale of the disaster. In case if the communication tools are all down and the situations are obviously critical, the commanders of the local units are expected to conduct DR Ops by their own judgment,” said Captain Yuzo Shibata of JSDF.

A nuclear powerplant in Fukushima suffered following the massive earthquake in Eastern Japan, which led to aerial and ground water spraying, search-and-rescue operations within contaminated areas, and screenings after the entry to contaminated areas.

As a country known to be equipped and prepared for disasters, Shibata said they have “never imagined doing these operations before.”

He recommended for a review of the disaster relief operations plan and crisis management postures ahead of future disasters and calamities.

The Senior’s Leaders Seminar held at Camp Aguinaldo was part of Balikatan’s command post exercise that aimed to simulate different natural disaster and calamity scenarios that will test and improve the planning, preparations, program of action and responses of both Philippine and US military.

“The different approaches employed by other countries in HADR will surely help us widen our perspective and improve our policies, procedures, preparations, and responses in the emergence of natural calamities and man-made disasters in the Philippines,” military chief General Jessie Dellosa said.

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