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C-SAT, COPECO train for disaster response

United States Army Chief Warrant Officer Edmond Bessette, CENTAM Survey and Assessment Team member and Iris Medina, C-SAT member identify the location of damage for a simulated hurricane with a Honduran Comision Permanente de Contingencias member, during a simulated Hurricane disaster response exercise at Puerto Castilla, Honduras, May 15. The C-SAT team responds to a natural disaster and humanitarian assistance notification in the Central America Region to conduct an assessment of the area before military forces are deployed.(Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Donner)

United States Army Chief Warrant Officer Edmond Bessette, CENTAM Survey and Assessment Team member and Iris Medina, C-SAT member identify the location of damage for a simulated hurricane with a Honduran Comision Permanente de Contingencias member, during a simulated Hurricane disaster response exercise at Puerto Castilla, Honduras, May 15. The C-SAT team responds to a natural disaster and humanitarian assistance notification in the Central America Region to conduct an assessment of the area before military forces are deployed.(Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Donner)

United States Army Staff Sgt. Frank Morales, CENTAM Survey and Assessment Team member, assembles a communication dish during a simulated Hurricane disaster response exercise at Puerto Castilla Honduras, May 15. The C-SAT team responds to a natural disaster and humanitarian assistance notification in the Central America Region to conduct an assessment of the area before military forces are deployed. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Donner)

United States Army Staff Sgt. Frank Morales, CENTAM Survey and Assessment Team member, assembles a communication dish during a simulated Hurricane disaster response exercise at Puerto Castilla Honduras, May 15. The C-SAT team responds to a natural disaster and humanitarian assistance notification in the Central America Region to conduct an assessment of the area before military forces are deployed. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Donner)

United States Army Lt. Col. Jay Liddick, CENTAM Survey and Assessment Team leader, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Chad Wallway, C-SAT member and U.S. Air Force Capt. Scott Gaught, C-SAT member, set up a tent after arriving in Puerto Castilla, Honduras, for a simulated hurricane disaster response exercise, May 15. The C-SAT team responds to a natural disaster and humanitarian assistance notification in the Central America Region to conduct an assessment of the area before military forces are deployed.(Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Donner)

United States Army Lt. Col. Jay Liddick, CENTAM Survey and Assessment Team leader, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Chad Wallway, C-SAT member and U.S. Air Force Capt. Scott Gaught, C-SAT member, set up a tent after arriving in Puerto Castilla, Honduras, for a simulated hurricane disaster response exercise, May 15. The C-SAT team responds to a natural disaster and humanitarian assistance notification in the Central America Region to conduct an assessment of the area before military forces are deployed.(Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Donner)

The CENTAM Survey and Assessment Team and the Honduran Comision Permanente de Contingencias look over a map of the affected area during a simulated hurricane disaster response exercise at Puerto Castilla, Honduras, May 15. The C-SAT team responds to a natural disaster and humanitarian assistance notification in the Central America Region to conduct an assessment of the area before military forces are deployed.(Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Donner)

The CENTAM Survey and Assessment Team and the Honduran Comision Permanente de Contingencias look over a map of the affected area during a simulated hurricane disaster response exercise at Puerto Castilla, Honduras, May 15. The C-SAT team responds to a natural disaster and humanitarian assistance notification in the Central America Region to conduct an assessment of the area before military forces are deployed.(Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Donner)

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- Seventeen service members from Joint Task Force-Bravo were recalled and transported to Puerto Castilla to join the Honduran Comision Permanente de Contingencias (COPECO), during a Central America Survey and Assessment Team (C-SAT) exercise, May 15-16.

"When tasked, the C-SAT team must respond quickly and efficiently to natural disasters or humanitarian assistance notifications in the Central America Region," said U.S. Air Force Maj. David Lee, C-SAT Planner. "We have 16-hours from notification to launch, in order to be on the ground anywhere in Central America within 24-hours. Once there, we conduct an assessment alongside U.S Agency for International Development, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and local COPECO representatives before military forces are deployed."

The team exercised the C-SAT launch sequence and validated the C-SAT standard operating procedures. Once on the ground in Puerto Castilla, the team partnered with COPECO to run through a simulated hurricane landfall disaster scenario and determine the actions each agency would accomplish during a disaster.

"Once we landed, we set-up camp and met with the COPECO team, the equivalent to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. As a team we discussed the simulated affected areas impacted by the hurricane, roads that were flooded, areas to set-up shelter and the coordination needed to provide supplies and aid to the affected areas," Lee added.

U.S. Southern Command's foreign humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions and programs are a central part of the U.S. Government's effort to save lives, alleviate suffering, and enhance security and stability in Central America.

"The foreign humanitarian assistance programs assist host nations in responding to disasters and builds on their self-sufficiency while also empowering regional organizations. We seek opportunities to deepen our engagement with COPECO to address these security challenges," said U.S. Army Lt. Col Jay Liddick, C-SAT team lead.

Nations of this hemisphere have faced devastating disasters - earthquakes, floods, hurricanes fires - that have destroyed lives and property. Joint Task Force-Bravo serves as USSOUTHCOM's immediate assessment and response element for natural disasters or foreign humanitarian assistance situations anywhere in Central America.

"The C-SAT exercise will yield long-term dividends in enhancing our partner nation preparedness and cooperation activities in responding to catastrophes, especially during the initial stages of a crisis," said Liddick.

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