US general says past US-Nepal joint exercises helped his country respond better

by ram khatry

8 May 2015 11:00 PM AEST: The joint earthquake recovery and relief exercises that the US Army and the Nepalese Army had carried out in the past helped the US Army better respond to the 7.9 magnitude Nepal earthquake, claims a US Army general.

“You hate to plan for the worst, but in this case planning for the worst has helped us to be in a better position to help,” Army Lieutenant General Anthony G. Crutchfield told DoD News on May 5.

Nepal earthquake
Lt Gen John Wissler, the head of US Army joint forces in Nepal.

Stressing on the need of such joint exercises for a country like Nepal, the general said, “You have to train together, share information … there has been a great deal of energy spent on talking about earthquakes because this is an earthquake-prone area.”

He noted that the terrible disaster will not dissuade the US Army from carrying out similar activities in the future. “We will continue to work together to ensure that if any future disasters happen we’d be ready to respond and be well-trained,” the DoD News article published yesterday quoted him as saying. The general said the U.S. joint forces of the Pacific Command stand ready to help in any way it is called on.

“It’s really tragic that a scenario we used for training purposes actually turned out to be such a devastating loss of life and my condolences go out to the people of Nepal,” he added.

The rubble of a homes in Nepal are viewed from a UH-1Y Huey on May 4. Photo Lance Cpl. Mandaline Hatch.Marine CorpsAccording to a Marine Corps Times report published today, the US Army’s joint task force in Kathmandu is led by Marine Lieutenant General John Wissler who is being assisted by Army Brigadier General Jeffrey Milhorn.

The report said the US is further boosting its earthquake relief efforts in Nepal and quoted Marine Colonel John Armellino who said without the resilience of the Nepali authorities, nothing much could have been achieved.

Col Armellino said the numerous missions of the US Army aircraft to deliver food and shelter kits to areas inaccessible by roads would have been impossible ‘if not for the resiliency of the Nepalese people who’ve been working around the clock keep the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu up and running’.

He said running the airport at a challenging time like that required a great deal of coordination, specially when missions after missions began arriving from the international community.

“Just as important as the Marine helicopters are to get access and bring supplies to those remote villages — just as or more important is the ability to maintain the operational capacity of that airport,” Col Armellino said.

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