It is the first drill organised under an agreement inked at a defence ministers’ meeting among the three countries in Hanoi in 2019. It will run through September 15.
In his opening address, Lao Deputy Minister of National Defence Lt. Gen. Chanthong Sonate-at said the three countries’ governments and armed forces give priority to preventing and responding to threats by natural disasters and climate change-related issues, for examples flooding, storm, tsunami, earthquake, landslide, drought and others.
He highlighted the significance of the exercise, noting it not only aims to build capacity and expertise in responding to natural disasters in any circumstance, but also provides an opportunity for the three sides to step up experience and cultural exchanges, contributing to strengthening the solidarity and trust among them.
|Military officers are putting a fake victim on an ambulance at the scene of the drill. (Photo: VNA)|
Close to 500 military officers from the three countries gathered for the drill which focuses on search and rescue in areas hit by floods and landslides, and where there are collapsed buildings and spills of toxic chemicals.
Senior Colonel Pham Hai Chau, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Search and Rescue Department at the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence’s General Staff, said Vietnam takes part in most of the event’s categories.
Vietnam has deployed its engineering and air forces, helicopters and boats in water search and rescue, he said, adding that modern, multi-purpose vehicles and military medicinal forces have been mobilised for the drill in building collapses and toxic chemical spills.