SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
Joint Task Force-Bravo's SOUTHCOM Situational Awareness Team members conducted a visit to the Honduran FEMA equivalent, the Comisión Permanente de Contingencias (COPECO) headquarters in Tegucigalpa, to interact with the Honduran emergency management response team and get familiarized with its workings, July 18.
"JTF-B stands by to assist SOUTHCOM in working alongside our Interagency Partners to support the Whole of Government response for natural disasters. If called upon by the Government of Honduras, there is a potential that our team, by with and through the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), would be working with agencies like COPECO," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Nicholas Dickson, JTF-B Army Forces Battalion commander.
Once in COPECO, the team was briefed by Daniel Mejia, COPECO chief of operations planning, on response capabilities, standard operating procedures and culminated the visit with a tour throughout the installations. "The idea behind this visit is that COPECO and the servicemembers here from Joint Task Force-Bravo can exchange knowledge in proper response techniques and that way be familiarized with a standard procedure in case of an emergency," said Mejia.
"The U.S. Department of Defense is a supporting agency in Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief missions," said Dickson. "JTF-B stands by to do what it is ordered to do in order to support USAID/OFDA and the U.S. Embassy in the whole of government response to the request by the partner nation for assistance."
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. Understanding each other's missions and methods is essential for a quick and efficient response to the affected population.