LAF and UNIFIL conduct joint exercise in natural disaster response, 27 February 2011

27 Feb 2011

LAF and UNIFIL conduct joint exercise in natural disaster response, 27 February 2011

Naqoura, Lebanon – An exercise in large-scale disaster response was conducted on 26-27 February jointly by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), in cooperation with a number of government and non-government organizations in the city of Tyr in south Lebanon.


The two-day exercise entitled "United Beacon" was based on a fictitious scenario in reaction to a large humanitarian emergency in the aftermath of an earthquake.

The exercise aimed at enhancing the coordinated capability of all the participating agencies to effectively respond to an unforeseen natural disaster within available means and capabilities.

The exercise was reviewed on Sunday 27 February by UNIFIL Chief-of-Staff Brigadier-General Xavier Woillemont and LAF South Litani Sector Commander Brigadier General Sadek Tlais.

The exercise involved 277 soldiers, 70 vehicles and two helicopters of the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL. Also participating were units of the Internal Security Forces, LAF Intelligence, Civil Defence, Lebanese Red Cross, the Tyr Fire Brigade, Tyr Municipality, concerned Ministries of the Lebanese Government and local NGOs.

A number of coordinated immediate response activities were carried out. These included deployment of emergency response teams by LAF and UNIFIL; aerial and ground reconnaissance of affected area; search, rescue and relief activities including first aid for victims, medical evacuation by ground and air transportation, deployment of fire-fighting and engineering assets for clearing debris and Explosive Ordnance Disposal

UNIFIL Chief of Staff Brigadier-General Xavier Woillemont said: "We have to be always prepared to respond to any natural disasters within our available resources and capabilities in order to be ready to mitigate the resulting damage to life and property. An effective and immediate first response is paramount to reducing the number of casualties, to save lives, treat the injured, and to prevent further injury and other forms of loss."

"This exercise is an important step in the continued efforts of UNIFIL and the Lebanese Army to enhance our combined ability," he added