The closing ceremony for the Lower Mekong Initiative Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Expert Exchange will take place tomorrow, Thursday, June 13, 3:00 p.m., at the Raffles Le Royal Hotel in Phnom Penh.  One hundred civilian and military representatives from the United States, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam participated in the three-day tabletop exercise in which participants collaborated on a response to a large-scale flooding scenario along the Mekong River and its tributaries. 

The Lower Mekong Initiative Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Expert Exchange demonstrates efforts to prepare for disasters ahead of time.  With advanced planning, each country can overcome issues that may arise before an actual disaster takes place, allowing more effective ways to provide vital services to the public. 

In July 2009, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the foreign ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam created the Lower Mekong Initiative during a ministerial meeting in Phuket, Thailand.  At this first ever U.S.-Lower Mekong Ministerial Meeting, the ministers agreed to enhance cooperation in the areas of environment, health, education, and infrastructure development.  The LMI underlines the importance of the Lower Mekong region to the United States and its commitment to advancing peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.  Burma formally joined the initiative in July 2012.

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