Last month, Vanuatu’s national emergency response network joined forces with Australian Defence personnel to conduct a major Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) workshop and simulation exercise, Exercise LONGREACH. The activity helped to strengthen stakeholder interoperability and national emergency response procedures.
Stakeholders who conduct and participate in Exercise LONGREACH
Exercise LONGREACH was conducted over three days and included informative presentations from key stakeholders, and well as familiarisation tours of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department Multi Hazards Warning Centre. The training concluded with a two day “desk-top” exercise which simulated the impact of a Category 4 Tropical Cyclone through Vanuatu’s central islands.
NDMO Director, Abraham Nasak, and Acting Commissioner of Police, Robson Iavro, were strong supporters of Exercise LONGREACH, provided a timely training opportunity in the lead up to the cyclone season.
Over 50 of Vanuatu’s national emergency responders participated, including NDMO staff, members of the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF), including the Vanuatu Mobile Force, and the Police Maritime Wing, and Australian advisers to the NDMO and VPF.
During the exercise, vital reference material including the Republic of Vanuatu Country Preparedness Package, the National Cyclone Plan 2018-2019 and the new draft NEOC Standard Operating Procedures were drawn upon to guide immediate actions and response planning.
Exercise LONGREACH was officially opened by Australian High Commissioner, Jenny Da Rin, on 27 August. The exercise was funded by the Australian Government and facilitated by a team of five HADR training experts from the Australian Defence Force and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Mr Nasak officially closed the exercise on 29 August, saying he hoped all participants learned a great deal from the activity.