By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Troops from Peru and Colombia started to arrive in the Brazilian city of Tabatinga on Sunday to join Brazilian soldiers and participate in military exercise simulations in humanitarian crises in the Amazon jungle.
The soldiers from the three Amazon countries, will also be joined by approximately thirty U.S. soldiers and observers from more than twenty countries.
According to officials in charge of the exercises, dubbed AmazonLog17, there will be two thousand troops participating in the exercise, five hundred of whom will be foreigners.
The purpose of the exercise is to create guidelines for disaster relief in the triple Amazon border region. Simulations on how to assist victims of forest fires, earthquakes, droughts, floods, and ship accidents will be performed.
Soldiers will also practice on how to deal with large contingents of human migrations, as in the case of refugees. The simulations will take place all this week and rely on the help of thirteen helicopters and eleven military airplanes.
According to General Antonio Manoel de Barros, in charge of this year’s AmazonLog, in a catastrophe military personnel would render infrastructure support to other government agencies, such as military and civil police, civil defense and firefighters.
“In a serious situation or threat, such as drought and floods, where the federal government is called to help, that is when the Armed Forces will appear. If we are called then we will be ready. That is why we are conducting these exercises,” Barros was quoted by government news agency, Agencia Brasil.
According to the general, observers from around the world will see first hand what Brazil’s Armed Forces can do.
“We know that serious accidents, catastrophes have no borders. That is why we decided to call other countries, as well as those directly involved in the exercise, to show that we have the capacity to take care of what is ours, even with all the difficulties,” said Barros.