By: John Boonstra on August 12, 2009 But worry not, UN peacekeepers were there: The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon today wrapped up a two-day large-scale disaster response exercise, responding to a fictitious earthquake in the south of the country. The dry run, which the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) conducted with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), tested the forces’ combined reaction to an earthquake with a magnitude of six on the Richter scale. I suppose that for those who might assume (wrongly, in my opinion) that taking on environmental projects goes beyond peacekeepers’ responsibilities, stopping a fake earthquake doesn’t sound too impressive. The difference, of course, is that a real earthquake, were one to hit Lebanon, would be all too tangible — and the benefits of peacekeepers’ training all too apparent. The takeaway from environmental projects may not always seem as lifesaving, but it’s harder to appreciate their positive impact because they are preventative measures. Kind of like, say, preparing to deal with a large-scale earthquake.