A three-day long annual Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange (DREE) by US and Bangladesh military forces in cooperation with Bangladeshi disaster management officials emphasised dual disaster management during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The event was held from 26 to 28 October.
State Minister of Ministry of Disaster Management & Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman and Major General Reginald Neal from the US Army Pacific inaugurated the event on Tuesday.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, officials organised this year's DREE as a tabletop exercise.
The exercise was jointly organised by Bangladesh Armed Forces Division, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, and the US Army Pacific (USARPAC).
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, State Minister of Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman, and US Ambassador Earl Miller delivered remarks during the closing ceremony at the Army Golf Club in Dhaka, reads a press release issued by US Embassy Dhaka.
This year's exercise built practical knowledge about international tools for Disaster Management, mutual understanding and coordination among stakeholders, finalised draft guidelines for the Disaster Incident Management Team (DIMT), and shared experience and lessons about dual disaster management under the theme "Resilience through Preparedness."
"Exercises like DREE reflect real-world scenarios and offer valuable opportunities to improve civilian-military cooperation," Ambassador Miller said.
"Together, we enhance our ability to understand each other, complement one another's strengths, provide support where we identify gaps and, collectively, respond more effectively," he added.
The Bangladesh DREE is part of Pacific Resilience, which is part of the USARPAC's Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Initiative started in 2010.
The DREE is a comprehensive effort focusing on building multilateral interoperability for disaster response between the United States and Bangladesh along with identifying areas to increase preparation and risk mitigation.
This is the tenth DREE because it was not held in 2020 due to Coronavirus outbreak.
However, participants expected the exercise will return as comprehensive practical exercise next year if the pandemic allows.
Among the guests were Senior Secretary Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief Md Shah Kamal and Principal Staff Officer, Armed Forces Division Lieutenant General Waker-Uz-Zaman.
A total of 285 participants from 130 organisations and 37 countries participated in the event. Stakeholders included ministries, NGOs and INGOs.