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Military Health System

Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

Humanitarian assistance and disaster response are core DOD capabilities, but they are always conducted in a supporting role to assist other U.S. Government agencies. DOD has the assets and experience to deploy necessary relief personnel and resources to all corners of the globe at a moment’s notice—there is no actor better prepared to respond in times of crisis. 

We have seen the positive impact of DOD’s efforts on the broader U.S. Government response to international disasters in a number of cases: 

  • In Operation Tomodochi, after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011—U.S. forces were instrumental in delivering food, water, blankets, clothing, and medical supplies to support Japanese civilian and military partners.
  • During Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Service Members were on the ground working with the Philippine military to provide essential medical treatment and supplies.
  • During the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, Service Members were involved in constructing treatment centers and providing logistical support to stem the spread of infection.
  • In the aftermath of the devastating 2015 Nepal earthquake, U.S. military personnel were instrumental in supporting relief efforts with transportation and medical treatment, and where previous training exercises with the Nepalese military significant improved their capacity to respond to the crisis. 

These engagements have provided invaluable hands-on experience for service members that helps improve our future contributions to disaster relief efforts. They demonstrate time and again the value of our partnership-building activities, as partner nations have improved their disaster response capabilities after joining U.S. military in training exercises.

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Guardsmen team up with active duty, reserve to support Operation Allies Welcome

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9/23/2021
Washington Air National Guard Master Sgt. Andy Remis, assigned to the 116th Air Support Operations Squadron, Camp Murray, Wash., lends a helping hand, holding an Afghan child at the Task Force Liberty Village medical station, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, Sept. 11, 2021.

National Guard members from nearly every state and territory are helping an estimated 50,000 Afghan guests by providing transportation, temporary housing, culturally appropriate food, medical screening, religious accommodations, and general support for Operation Allies Welcome.

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Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

Army medical personnel vaccinate nearly 5,500 Afghan evacuees in less than 72 hours

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An Army medic administers an MMR vaccine to an Afghan evacuee.

Led by the 30th Medical Brigade, and with assistance from Regional Health Command Europe and operational units around Europe, the team administered measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, and chickenpox vaccines to provide protection for Afghan evacuees.

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86th OMRS mental health flight supports military, evacuees

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An Airman assists an evacuee during a measles, mumps and rubella vaccination program

During Afghanistan evacuation operations, the 86th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron’s mental health flight has been targeted to care for the military and evacuees.

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NMRTCs Sigonella and Naples Surge Medical Assets to Support Afghan Personnel

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A Navy nurse speaks to a father and son.

U.S. Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Sigonella stood up three large medical and dental tents, providing routine, acute, and emergent care to Afghan evacuees.

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Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

More than medical care: EMEDS prescribes hope

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A doctor speaks to a young patient.

EMEDS is a mobile field hospital, complete with an emergency room, medical surgical unit, fully functioning pharmacy, and capability to conduct X-rays, run labs and perform electrocardiograms.

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AUAB Medics Adapt to Support Afghanistan Evacuation

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9/2/2021
Dr. (Maj.) Elaina Wild, 379th Expeditionary Medical Group chief medical officer, takes a picture with mothers and their newborn babies at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The 379th EMDG was not originally postured for neo-natal care, so medical members had to adapt in order to provide care for evacuating mothers in labor and their newborn babies. Since Al Udeid AB became the main stopover location for qualified evacuees from Afghanistan on Aug. 14, 2021, members assigned to the 379th EMDG helped deliver nine babies. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Since Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, became the main stopover location for qualified evacuees from Afghanistan on Aug. 14, 2021, the entire installation and all of its personnel have had to adapt at a moment’s notice in order to support the Afghanistan evacuation operations.

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Immunization Recommendations for Disaster Response Operations

Fact Sheet
8/30/2017

This information paper provides immunization recommendations and resources for Department of Defense (DOD) personnel supporting disaster response operations, both in CONUS and OCONUS.

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DoD Instruction 6010.22: National Disaster Medical System (NDMS)

Policy

This instruction establishes policy for DoD participation in the NDMS, a joint federal, State, and local mutual aid response system, to provide a coordinated medical response, patient movement, and definitive patient care during a military health emergency, U.S. national emergency, or U.S. domestic disaster.

DoD Directive 5100.46, Foreign Disaster Relief, July 6, 2012

Policy

DoD Support to Foreign Disaster Relief Handbook

Policy

DoD Support to Foreign Disaster Relief Handbook

DoD Instruction 6000.16: Military Health Support for Stability Operations

Policy

This Instruction establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides instructions for military health support of stability operations in accordance with the authority in Reference (a). Military health support for stability operations is hereafter referred to as medical stability operations (MSOs).

Foreign Humanitarian Assistance Joint Publication 3-29

Policy

Foreign Humanitarian Assistance Joint Publication 3-07.6

Policy
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Last Updated: August 25, 2022
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