Exercise Tisza 2010
Just like the 2006 flooding on each major river in Hungary, this year’s spring flash floods have shown again that Hungarian citizens in trouble can count on the HDF servicemembers’ assistance any time. Our troops have contributed their professionalism, equipment and experience to prevent more extensive disasters and rescue the property that can be saved.
Needless to say, even the state-of-the-art items of equipment would just remain unexploited assets without the soldiers who are able to operate them on a professional level. For the most part, they are brought into the limelight only when some disaster has already occurred and they are needed to work on the dams day and night. Of course the weather does not know any national borders, and (due to its geographical situation) Hungary plays the role of something like a basin for the floodwater pouring from the catchment areas of several rivers. For this reason, this kind of cooperation has assumed an international character for years. This multinational cooperation was taken one stage further at the Hungarian–Romanian–Serb disaster relief exercise ‘Tisza 2010’ that was conducted in Szentes, Hungary between June 27 and July 1.
The preliminaries to the joint work date back to 2006, as the exercise ‘Confident Leap 2006’ was the first-ever occasion where Hungarian and Serb engineer staffs cooperated in executing disaster relief tasks. In 2007 they continued working together in Serbia, where they mounted the exercise ‘Big River 2007’ to train the troops for participation in flood protection efforts in the area of the two countries. The following year Hungary hosted the event again, so the MARCUS computer simulation system was also involved in the execution of the tasks during the exercise ‘Big River 2008’ in Hódmezővásárhely. The cooperation of the armed forces expanded into a tri-national engineering enterprise in 2009 with the sappers of the Romanian army joining the training program.
This year’s exercise ‘Tisza 2010’ was based on a scenario under which a major emergency has arisen both in Hungary and Romania due to the huge amount of rainfall in the catchment area of the River Körös. As the Körös are swelling up the water level on River Tisza to a significant extent, some Serbian areas are in imminent danger of being flooded as well. The nominated forces of the three armies were training for averting this imminent disaster at the home station of the HDF 37th Rákóczi Ferenc II Engineer Regiment in Szentes, where six staff officers represented the Romanian armed forces. The armed forces of Serbia sent 14 staff officers and a 10-man engineer squad to take part in the exercise.
The VIP day of the exercise was attended among others by Maj-Gen. Zoltán Orosz, Deputy Chief, MoD Defence Staff, Brig-Gen. Mihai Ciungu, TRADOC Chief, Romanian Army General Staff and LTG Mladen Cirkovic, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Military of Serbia. During the presentation the guests were given opportunity to watch the staff at work that was in charge of organizing and directing the disaster relief efforts and to learn about the relevant procedures and the items of military equipment used in the rescue operations, including the ZENON ADROWPU water purification station and the related water packaging device, the different types of boats, bridge bays and the tracked amphibious vehicles.
Following a visit to the barracks, the program continued with a LIVEX phase on the Tisza, as the river was flooding at the time of the exercise and the water level was only two meters lower than it had been at the time of the 2006 big flood. While working at this location, the engineer troops and the water management experts presented the methods for supporting the dams with disburdening frames, a counter-pressure basin and the protection of dams against waves in the river foreland. Afterwards the guests inspected the items of HDF equipment on River Tisza that are suitable for rescuing people, farm animals and property and also for transporting the technical assets needed for the rescue operation (including heavy engineering equipment, engines, vehicles and sandbags).