Thursday May 1, 2008
Pandemic flu exercise will be held this month
By Gemma Q. Casas
Variety News Staff
THE U.S. military will conduct a two-day simulated pandemic influenza outbreak in the CNMI to determine the islands’ preparedness.
Roy Tsutsui, coordinating officer of the U.S. Department of Defense, told local lawmakers that the command post exercise on the islands will be held from May 22 to 23.
Tsutsui was here last week along with Brig. Gen. Thomas Richardson, the Army director for logistics, engineering and security assistance for the Pacific Command.
“We want to know how do we help each other deal with a pandemic situation,” said Tsutsui. “We will pay for all the resources (that we will use in this exercise),” he told the lawmakers.
The simulated exercise will mobilize members of different government agencies among other organizations which may be tapped in case of a pandemic.
The Pentagon will help the CNMI create its own pandemic influenza planning response plan.
The CNMI has only one hospital for its three major islands which have a combined population of more than 65,000.
Tsutsui said a full-exercise on the CNMI’s pandemic response plan will be held next year.