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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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Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune Doctor Serves With the Pacific Partnership 2022

Article Around MHS
Military personnel surrounded by family

A dermatologist assigned to Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune has returned from a summer deployment in support of Pacific Partnership 2022. U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander James Contestable served several weeks aboard the United States Navy Ship (USNS) Mercy, a hospital ship based out of San Diego.

U.S. Embassy in the Philippines Civil Affairs Team Conducts First Responder Training in Batanes

Article Around MHS
Military medical personnel preparing bandage

The U.S. Embassy Civil Affairs Team (CAT) led medical first responder training for Philippine military and civilian personnel to mark the 239th founding anniversary of the province of Batanes from June 26 to 29.

NY Army Guard Army Reserve Medical, Veterinary, Personnel Team Up with South Africans Military to Provide Care in Rural Villages

Article Around MHS
Military medical personnel examine a patient

Fifteen U.S. Soldiers, including five from the New York Army National Guard, provided medical care to about 3,000 South African villagers in the Richards Bay area, along the eastern coast of South Africa, 100 miles northeast of Durban, during a medical readiness exercise in July.

Medical readiness exercise provides real world humanitarian relief to local Moroccan population

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Medical readiness exercise provides real-world humanitarian relief to local Moroccan population

The Utah Army National Guard Medical Detachment, the U.S. Army 30th Medical Brigade, and the Royal Moroccan Army collaborated to provide real-world humanitarian assistance to the local population here while simultaneously conducting medical readiness training during African Lion 2022.

How the Military Medical Forces Supported Afghanistan Evacuation

A U.S. Marine carries a baby as the family processes through the Evacuation Control Center during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 28. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla)

During the military evacuation from Afghanistan in August 2021, military medical forces played a vital role in both providing urgent medical care for those fleeing the country and supporting the mental health of Afghanistan war veterans back home.

Task Force Liberty partners with local clinic to provide dental care

Article Around MHS
An Airman adjusts the face mask on an Afghan child.

Task Force Liberty’s case management team partnered up with the local community Sept. 22, 2021, to provide routine dental care for the first time to Afghans living in Liberty Village on Joint Base, McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Jew Jersey.

BAMC nurse helps support vaccination effort for Afghan evacuees

Article Around MHS
Medical personnel check in Afghan evacuees waiting to receive measles, mumps and rubella and chickenpox vaccines.

A Brooke Army Medical Center clinical nurse specialist used her training and experience to help vaccinate Afghan evacuees in Germany.

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

Article Around MHS
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.

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

Article Around MHS
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.

86th OMRS mental health flight supports military, evacuees

Article Around MHS
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.

More than medical care: EMEDS prescribes hope

Article Around MHS
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.

NMRTCs Sigonella and Naples Surge Medical Assets to Support Afghan Personnel

Article Around MHS
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.

AUAB Medics Adapt to Support Afghanistan Evacuation

Article Around MHS
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.

Immunization Recommendations for Disaster Response Operations

Fact Sheet

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

DoD Instruction 6010.22: National Disaster Medical System (NDMS)


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.

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Last Updated: August 25, 2022
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