"The UME has shown that it is capable of facing difficult situations with absolute preparation, as it has become clear this weekend with its intervention in the province of León, or in the floods of Murcia and Levante a few weeks ago," he stressed Robles before journalists.
The minister has also influenced the collaboration of the EMU with other armies, which shows that "our Armed Forces are modern, efficient and prepared, in addition to being one of the best representations in Spain."
At the meeting, the head of the General Staff of the UME, Colonel Juan Carlos Olalla, has exposed to the minister the device that will be activated for the winter campaign, the details of the national emergency drill that each year leads this unit and the actions to control the expansion of the camalote on the Guadiana river, northeast of Mérida.
The winter storm campaign has been one of the big issues that has been addressed at the meeting. The UME has planned to maintain a territorial deployment of 1,400 soldiers and provides 15 snow plows and more than 100 vehicles, specially prepared to act in adverse situations (TOA, VEMPAR, gondolas, loaders or Dozer chains).
In addition, the EMU incorporates two new types of vehicles this year, which, due to their characteristics, extend their capacity to act. One is an average multi-purpose intervention vehicle, and the other is an amphibious off-road vehicle, which can approach to points that are isolated and move off the roads.
In this way, it will be prepared, from December 1, 2019 until April 15, 2020, to intervene at any point of the national territory and to support civil authorities in an emergency situation declared by winter storms. Coordination formulas are also planned with the rest of the Armed forces, in case it is necessary to strengthen capacities and means.
However, the EMU has already intervened in the province of León to help the population before the storm of the last days. "Now our main concern is to know the impact that the front that is entering will have. The homes have recovered the supplies and the accesses are being cleaned. It seems that we will have time to react if the weather becomes more adverse," explained the chief from the UME, Lieutenant General Luis Manuel Martínez Meijide, who has been accompanying the minister.
The ultimate objective of this planning is to minimize the effects of a predictable critical weather situation on the civilian population, property or infrastructure.
On the other hand, the head of the EMU has specified to the head of Defense the details about the emergency drill that this unit carries out every year. In 2020 the Combined Joint Exercise will be held in the Canary Islands.
This exercise, which will also involve the Air ForceIt will take place between March 21 and 26 and simulate a volcanic eruption and earthquakes that could lead to the evacuation of the island.
Regarding the plan to contain the camalote in Guadiana, Martínez Meijide has presented the results of the first phase of the plan designed to contain the invasion of this Amazonian plant that will conclude throughout the month of December.
At present, more than 120 of its troops work together with the operators of the Tragsa company, in addition to collaborating with other state and regional administrations. The objective is that the expansion of the camalote does not reach the border and reach Portugal.
The minister has concluded the meeting with a few words of welcome to the new head of the EMU, which faces its first winter campaign, and thanks to all its staff.
"Sometimes, words are insufficient to convey the gratitude that citizens have for them. When it is said" the EMU is here ", everyone breathes a lot calmer" said Robles, who has invited them to continue working "with the same love for Spain and its citizens, which makes their touches of efficiency and professionalism in the most difficult moments ".
The Secretary of State for Defense, Angel Olivares, has also been present at this work meeting.
UME veterans and friends
Finally, the Minister of Defense has had the opportunity to meet members of the recently released Spanish Association of Veterans and Friends of the UME (ASEVAUME) that is born "so that military and civilians share principles based on values and the ideology of the EMU ", as its president, division general Manuel Barrós Vales, stands out.
In this sense, the association will work to disseminate the good image of the unit and its work of serving the citizen in emergency situations that may occur due to natural causes.