Dhaka, Bangladesh —The annual Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange (DREE), co-hosted by U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) and Bangladesh’s Armed Forces Division, was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, 2022. A total of 358 participants from 124 organizations and 27 countries participated in the event.
The 2022 DREE comes soon after the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations between Bangladesh and the United States; furthermore, the DREE is a great example of how the relationship has grown.
The Bangladesh Armed Forces Division, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, and U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) jointly organized the exercise. Brig. Gen. Husain Muhammad Masihur Rahman, Director General of the Operations and Plans Directorate of the Armed Forces Division; Md Kamrul Hasan, Secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief; Lt. Gen. Waker-Uz-Zaman, Principal Staff Officer of the Armed Forces Division; Dr. Md Enamur Rahman, MP, state minister, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief and Brig. Gen. Mark A. Crosby, Assistant Adjutant General-Air for the Oregon National Guard delivered remarks during the opening ceremony at the Army Golf Club in Dhaka.
This year’s exercise focused on best practices for emergency preparedness, especially on preparation for earthquakes. Multiple countries shared knowledge under the theme “Resilience through Preparedness.”
Crosby, from the Oregon National Guard said the DREE helps develop relationships and disaster response capabilities in the region.
“Your role as emergency responders is important. We all grow as human beings and participating in events like the DREE.” He also said that we, “emerge from them better prepared to help the people of our countries in their times of need. I want to thank the Bangladesh Armed Forces Division for hosting this great event over the years and I challenge you to make the most of the DREE and I hope you make many new friends.” Brig Gen Mark Crosby has attended every Bangladesh DREE since 2010.
USARPAC has a long history of co-hosting the Bangladesh DREE, an event that is a key component of Pacific Resilience. It was started in 2010 and has been held every year except for 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bangladesh DREE is a comprehensive effort focusing on building multilateral interoperability for disaster response between the United States, Bangladesh, and regional partners. The DREE also identifies areas to increase preparation and reduce risk.
Day two of the event included academic discussions on landslides caused by earthquakes, infectious diseases during incidents, and tsunami preparation. Further, Chief Master Sgt. Denise Phillips spoke on Gender Equity and Inclusion of Women during disasters. In his closing remarks, Maj. Gen. Reginald Neal highlighted that this was the, “first time we’ve fully integrated women into all aspects of the response.” He also noted that integrating women generates, “a fully integrated response to build operational readiness, and I applaud you for that!”
Day three included a comprehensive tabletop exercise (TTX) to familiarize participants with an earthquake scenario, as well as their roles and responsibilities.
On November 2, Brig. Gen. Husain Muhammad Masihur Rahman and Maj. Gen. Reginald Neal (USARPAC) closed the event. “The benefits we gain from training exercises like this are tremendous,” said Neal. “These collaborative efforts will pay great dividends for years to come. You will save many lives in the future from suffering and despair. The friendship we have here will transcend unforeseen future obstacles and challenges and I'm truly excited about the future.”
The Bangladesh DREE is one of many Pacific Resilience exercises that occur throughout the Asia-Pacific region. They enhance the U.S. government's readiness and preparedness to provide aid when natural disasters happen. Pacific Resilience supports U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's civil-military integration and humanitarian assistance/disaster response (HA/DR) capabilities.