Prince Harry meets with members of Medical Teams International at Triplex, the preeminent disaster response gathering.


Though the humanitarian response was just a simulation for humanitarian response aid workers from around the globe, the presence of Prince Harry was very real.

Prince Harry came to the preeminent humanitarian response exercise late last month. He even spent a few minutes with representatives of Medical Teams International.

He came to Triplex. Triplex is the Norway-based simulation of the first 72 hours of a large-scale, sudden-onset disaster. Medical Teams took part in the five-day exercise from September 4  to September 30. Other aid organizations from around the world joined too.

Prince Harry makes his surprise debut at the humanitarian response simulation

Prince Harry made his surprise visit by helicopter. He dropped in to learn more about the coordination efforts and to mingle with aid workers.

Prince Harry’s presence added an extra dash of reality to the largest coordinated humanitarian activity. That is, outside an actual, real-world crisis. The simulation, with its royal visitor, ended just days before a real-life storm began threatening the Caribbean.

Triplex places aid workers in the midst of a simulated humanitarian response. It involves 500 people from 76 countries. They set up camp, coordinate with the United Nations, and even assess and “treat” actors playing disaster victims.

Medical Teams International sent six representatives — including two medical volunteers — to Norway to take part in the exercise, paid for by the European Union.

Roger Sandberg, director of the Medical Teams International Humanitarian Response Team, said it was important to test emergency preparedness, coordination, and assessment in the field and at headquarters. “It’s a big commitment for everyone involved,” Sandberg said of the simulation, which is held every three years.

The simulation further improves Medical Teams’ ability to mobilize a response in the event of a crisis, Sandberg said. Medical Teams recently dispatched volunteer doctors and nurses to operate mobile medical units in communities leveled by Hurricane Matthew. This team is seeing dozens of patients a day, some of whom suffer from bodily trauma while others are at risk of contracting serious illnesses.

The disaster simulated during Triplex was a hurricane sweeping through an imaginary country called “Sorland” already suffering from high flooding.

The next Triplex won’t be held until 2019, with two years of planning taking place before it commences. Medical Teams plans to take part in the next Triplex to continue improving our ability to respond to disasters and help people in need.

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