This page contains information on recent events taking place in the Pacific Islands.
Pacific Partnership MeetingFEMA Region IX Pacific Area Office staff developed and facilitated the annual Pacific Preparedness Partnership Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, March 31-April 2, 2015. This meeting brought together senior leadership from throughout the Pacific jurisdictions in a single forum to discuss new Preparedness initiatives, grant programs, response and recovery programs, mitigation initiatives and other topics of interest. Participants included Homeland Security Advisors and Emergency Management Directors from the Pacific jurisdictions along with FEMA Region IX staff from Oakland, CA and Hawaii.
Participants learned of the successes and challenges of the Pacific jurisdictions as well as the latest initiatives in Preparedness, Grants, and other program areas from subject matter experts from the Pacific Area Office and the Region.
In addition to continued networking and strengthening of partnerships with Pacific partners, participants are able to share lessons learned and gain a better understanding of current initiatives in multiple program areas.
Mariana Regional Fusion Center Assists Typhoon Dolphin Response
May 21, 2015GUAM -- As Typhoon Dolphin approached the Mariana Islands, the Mariana Regional Fusion Center was fully engaged in supporting the Emergency Operation Centers of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). While the best known function of Fusion Centers is to conduct analysis and facilitate information sharing amongst law enforcement and homeland security partners to prevent crime and terrorism, the centers are also a tremendous asset to emergency management.
“We talk to each other,” said Higinio Camacho, Port Police Lieutenant with the Port Authority of Guam. “We break down barriers here [at the Mariana Regional Fusion Center]. Resources are tight on the islands…and we are able to reach a broader audience.”
Port Police Lt. Camacho has been with the Mariana Regional Fusion Center in Guam since it was officially opened in 2013. The Center hosts at least six full-time staff from Guam law enforcement agencies, as well as part time or intermittent representatives of other governmental agencies. Personnel from the Port Authority of Guam, the Department of Homeland Security, the Guam Police Department, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Department of Corrections, Guam International Airport Authority, Judiciary of Guam, Customs Quarantine Agency, Guam Conservation, and the Guam Police Department are in the Fusion Center near the Guam Homeland Security Office of Civil Defense. U.S. Department of Homeland Security collaborates with the Fusion Center through Senior Intelligence Officer, James Cruz.
Using the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN), the Mariana Regional Fusion Center captured and shared situational awareness information before and after Typhoon Dolphin’s landfall both locally and nationally through its Asia Pacific Regional SitRoom which includes Hawaii, CNMI and American Samoa.
Sharing information through HSIN’s platform is especially helpful for other agencies that may not have access to the local EOC data portal. The Mariana Regional Fusion Center can distribute unclassified information from the EOC to partners including FEMA, DHS, other federal agencies and other fusion centers across the Asia Pacific region, and nationwide. After Typhoon Dolphin, the Center shared situational updates about Rota’s water situation and the number of shelters on Guam and CNMI, as well as ongoing National Weather Service reports.
“We try to share as much detail as possible with the National Operations Center and our partner fusion centers, including the Hawaii State Fusion Center who served as rear-guard support during the typhoon,” Port Police Lt. Camacho said.
This information sharing is invaluable to emergency management officials who are trying to prioritize resources and ensure that essential services are restored after a disaster. For the Islands, accurate situational awareness is even more important because transporting vital commodities can take days.
Returning to a more traditional role, the Mariana Regional Fusion Center will move from Typhoon watch to supporting international trade activities by engaging in information-gathering and analysis in support of the two-week meeting of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Guam, May 14-25.
“We’ve been working with the Secret Service, the White House, and the U.S. Marshall’s office to conduct threat assessments for the TPP event. We also work with Guam and CMNI for other events, like the annual State of the Island,” said Port Police Lt. Camacho. “You just cannot do this job without the local government.”
State-operated Fusion Centers with support from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Justice have established 78 centers nationwide. The Marianas Regional Fusion Center is the 78th and its closest partner within the Asia Pacific Region is the Hawaii State Fusion Center which is the 77th.