Partner Nation Air Forces Direct Aid to Mexico following Earthquake

first_imgBy Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo September 29, 2017 Air forces from the System of Cooperation among the American Air Forces (SICOFAA, per its Spanish acronym), came to Mexico’s aid after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale shook the country on September 19th, leaving hundreds of victims dead and thousands injured and affected. This new telluric movement occurred exactly 32 years after the earthquake that left thousands dead on September 19, 1985. “SICOFAA member nations quickly agreed to cancel the Cooperación V air exercise that was to be held in Chile from September 26th to October 7th,” Colonel Rodrigo Zapata, the director of the Colombian Air Force’s National Rescue and Special Operations Center, told Diálogo. “The countries that had expressed their commitment to participating in the exercise deployed their aid to Mexico.” The Colombian, Ecuadorean, Salvadoran, and U.S. air forces were the first to provide the specialized humanitarian technical assistance offered to the Mexican government and people to bolster their search and rescue work following the earthquake. Almost immediately, the Mexican Armed Forces deployed more than 11,000 soldiers to provide assistance. “This foreign assistance has meant a lot to Mexicans. Rest assured that we will be forever grateful,” Mexican Navy Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberón, Mexican Secretary of the Navy, stated on social media. Mexican Secretary of the Interior Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong said that “domestic and international cooperation has been essential for saving lives.” SICOFAA, through its many events and previous exercises, has helped to create a sense of unity, camaraderie, and mutual support among the air forces of the Americas, and you see that on display in the relief effort as many SICOFAA member countries have sent aid to Mexico,” U.S. Air Force Colonel Anthony G. Cook, the secretary general of SICOFAA, told Diálogo. SICOFAA is a voluntary, non-political organization devoted to promoting cooperation, unity, and interoperability among the 20 air forces of partner nations in the Americas. Outpouring of solidarity The earthquake caused damage in the states of Guerrero, Mexico, Morelos, and Puebla, as well as in the nation’s capital. Several parts of Mexico City were declared disaster zones less than two weeks after another huge earthquake had caused damage in the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. “The first 72 hours are crucial in these kinds of tragedies. The levels of coordination and communication must facilitate a rapid and timely response to complete the mission,” Col. Zapata said. “Helping our allies when they are in need is one of the most important things we do as a nation,” added U.S. Air Force Captain Kyle Brackett of the 21st Airlift Squadron. “Two days after the earthquake, humanitarian aid from the United States arrived at Military Air Base No. 2 on board a C-17 [from the U.S. Air Force] in a great gesture of solidarity,” Adm. Soberón reported. “The airlift unit transported 33 tons of equipment and an elite Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) from the Los Angeles County Fire Department.” The Colombian government also deployed aid. It sent a Colombian Air Force Boeing 727 Vulcan, a rescue team, a 10-ton load of humanitarian aid, and two canine teams to assist the Mexican authorities with their search-and-rescue duties. The day after the earthquake, the Salvadoran Air Force transported 25 elite rescuers from El Salvador’s Urban Search and Rescue Group in a C-47 turboprop plane. The delegation traveled with enough food, supplies, and provisions to be self-sufficient during their stay in Mexico. Ecuador sent an L-100-30 Hercules transport plane from the Ecuadorean Air Force. Its aid mission comprised 30 people with medical and communications equipment that helped in the planning, search with canines, and the breaking down, perforation, lifting, and removal of debris. The Costa Rican team arrived on a Beechcraft King Air F90 belonging to the Costa Rican National Police by pilots from the Aerial Surveillance Service of the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Safety. This group comprised experts on assessing the structural damage to buildings. Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru also sent their best rescuers to work with the Mexican authorities in their search-and-rescue efforts for people trapped under the rubble. Other nations from around the world, including Israel, Japan, and Spain, joined the international aid effort, sending contingents with tons of unconditional aid to the Aztec nation. The personnel in these foreign delegations were coordinated by Mexico’s Secretariat of the Navy, National Defense Secretariat, Federal Police, and Civil Defense authorities. Rescue missions were conducted 24 hours a day and they also assisted in assessing the damage caused by the quake. Coordination, synergy, and training “Even though the aid was dispatched to Mexico through various diplomatic communication channels, we always keep in communication and coordination with SICOFAA when this kind of international aid is provided,” Col. Zapata noted. “No nation is exempt from these unwanted disasters.” “It is important to note the synergy among our partner forces when responding jointly to a large-scale emergency and joining forces to benefit the nation affected, which, in this case, was Mexico,” Armando Rodríguez Luna, an expert on military and security issues with the Collective for the Analysis of Security with Democracy (CASEDE, per its Spanish acronym) in Mexico City, told Diálogo. “Because earthquakes are a constant in Mexico and in other countries in the Latin American region, this type of phenomenon must be given priority in the agendas of the Mexican Armed Forces and other armed forces in the region in order to jointly bolster our capabilities and develop new ones.” “This entire experience, plus the opportunity to participate in combined training exercises at the national and international levels, such as [SICOFAA’s] multilateral ‘Cooperación’ exercise, enriches our experience and expertise in the planning, control, and execution of operations in cases of natural disasters,” Col. Zapata concluded. “We will always be ready and willing to assist our partner nations.”last_img read more

Mumbai Girl Is World’s 1st To Cross Atlantic Ocean In Light Sports Aircraft (LSA)

first_imgMumbai: Captain Aarohi Pandit, a 23-year-old pilot from Mumbai became the world’s first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo in a Light Sports Aircraft (LSA), thrilling her family, friends and aviation circles here on Tuesday.She achieved the feat around midnight Monday-Tuesday (May 13-14) when she landed her tiny aircraft at Iqaluit Airport in Canada, after a gruelling 3,000 km long flight, under adverse and extreme weather conditions following take-off from Wick, Scotland (United Kingdom), with brief stopovers in Greenland and Iceland.“This is part of her ongoing year-long global circumnavigation flight which was launched wither friend Keithair Misquitta on July 30. Aarohi continued solo from UK to Canada, and they will return to India by July 30, 2019,” said an excited Lynn de Souza, head of Social Access, a not-for-profit communications firm which organised and sponsored the expedition.“En route, she set another world record as the first woman pilot to fly solo above the treacherous Greenland ice-cap in a LSA, and is due for at least half a dozen other records by the time she reaches India,a Lynn told IANS.A commercial pilot and LSA licence holder, Pandit and her best friend Keithair Misquitta left India on the Women Empower (WE) Expedition in the tiny aircraft christened ‘Mahi’.‘Mahi’ is a tiny, single-engine Sinus 912 weighing a little of 400 kg or nearly equivalent to a Bullet motorcycle, manufactured by Pipistrel of Slovenia, and is also the first LSA registered by Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) India.Pandit and Misquitta flew over Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, then to Pakistan, where they landed — making it the first civilian LSA flight to land in the neighbouring country since 1947 — and went onto to Iran, Turkey, Serbia, Slovenia, Germany, France and UK.After landing in Iqaluit, Pandit proudly exhibited the Indian Tricolour presented to her by the Indian Ambassador to Canada Vikas Swarup, said Lynn.“I am so honoured and grateful I could do this for my country and for women everywhere… Flying over the Atlantic Ocean is a humbling experience. Its just you and your little plane, the light blue sky above and dark blue see or shining white ice below,” said a tired but cheerful Pandit in her landing remarks to her cheering friends in Mumbai, who stayed awake till early on Tuesday to witness her making history.Though she admitted certain sectors in the long flight were bumpy, the “beauty of the ocean and islands was breathtaking and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat”.Pandit is an ardent fan of the legendary American aviator, Amelia Earheart — who became the world’s first woman to make a solo transatlantic flight in a bigger aircraft, 87 years ago, on May 20, 1932.A resident of Borivali, northwest Mumbai suburb, Pandit underwent an arduous seven-month preparatory training schedule in India, Greenland, Siberia, Italy over oceans, high altitude, snow, extreme weather conditions, different terrains testing her physical and mental capabilities to undertake her circumnavigation feat. After a brief sojourn in Canada, the WE Expedition will continue with Pandit flying westwards to Russia, cross many a longitudes and hurdles, create or break more records, before she finally returns home by July 30, after clocking in around 37,000 km. IANS Also Read: SPORTS NEWSlast_img read more

Around Whittier

first_imgWHITTIER – The City Council will hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday to listen to a presentation on what the firm of Moule and Polyzoides, an urban design and planning firm, has learned so far in preparing a new plan for Uptown Whittier. Members of the firm have been meeting with local business groups and others to discuss Uptown Whittier. The next public step will occur from noon to 1 p.m. June 5-8, when the firm will hold public presentations at the Crystal Marquis, 13007 Philadelphia St., Whittier. A final presentation will be held at 2 p.m. June 9, also at the Crystal Marquis. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsSenior Club sets mom `coronation’ SANTA FE SPRINGS – The city’s Good Neighbor Senior Club will host a special “Mother’s Coronation” event from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Neighborhood Center. During the event, women from local organizations will be honored. Tickets for the event, which includes a 50/50 raffle and door prizes, are $7 per person. Advance dance tickets are available Wednesday only from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Neighborhood Center, . For tickets or information, call Ophelia Juarez at (562) 926-4344. Forest tour will view wildflowers 9255 Pioneer Blvd ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST – Wildflowers are the topic of Saturday’s U.S. Forest Service monthly tour in the Angeles National Forest. The tour, led by a naturalist with the Forest Service, will stretch from the upper end of the San Gabriel Canyon to Crystal Lake, looking at wildflower response to elevational change and to disturbance. With the late rains in April and the recent warm weather, the wildflowers should be showing their brilliant colors. The Forest Service encourages families, Scout groups,or anyone interested in their local mountains to attend. The tour is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants should meet at the San Gabriel Canyon Environmental Education Center, 0.7 miles past the East Fork Bridge on Highway 39, above the City of Azusa. Cost is $5 per person. For more information, call (909) 982-2879. Federal employee group to meet WHITTIER – The National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees, local chapter 333, will meet at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Palm Park Activity Center, 5703 Palm Ave. A speaker will talk about senior fraud and identity theft. Sack lunches are suggested. Dessert and beverages will be provided. For more information, call (562) 695-2126. Neighborhood Watch meeting WHITTIER – A Neighborhood Watch meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. May 30 at Telechron School, 11200 Telechron Ave. Los Angeles County representatives will be at the meeting. For more information, call (562) 698-7645. Poetry club to meet Friday LA HABRA – The Poetry Club of the Seasons Senior Center will meet at 6:30 p.m. Friday at 200 W. Whittier Blvd. Poems by local writers, Walt Whitman and others will be read. For more information, call (562) 696-0375, or (562) 690-4806. Beach Bash dance at Activity Center LA MIRADA – A Beach Bash dance will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. June 2 at the La Mirada Activity Center. Guests will enjoy an evening of dancing, refreshments and door prizes. Live music will be provided by Jim Gilman and Associates. Tickets, which are $5 per person, can be purchased in advance or at the door. For more information, call (562) 902-3160. – From staff reports160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img