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The autonomous nature of Mobile Ad hoc Networks (MANETs) makes them suitable for the support of extreme emergency rescuer IP communications for next generation networks. A major hurdle towards the deployment of emergency MANETs (eMANETs) is the design of a distributed routing protocol that can adapt to its highly dynamic topology where the number of nodes in the network frequently varies. This paper presents ChaMeLeon (CML), a hybrid and adaptive routing protocol designed to adapt to the rapid topological changes in extreme emergency MANETs (eMANETs) when operating within a predefined disaster area. CML adaptively changes its routing behavior according to the number of nodes in the network, so that it can provide a more efficient routing approach than purely proactive or reactive routing protocols for varying size networks. The protocol can operate in one of three routing phases which are the reactive phase (R-phase) for large networks, proactive phase (P-phase) for small networks and oscillation phase (O-phase) for phase transitions based on a network size threshold. This threshold is determined using simulation based performance statistics of the purely reactive or proactive routing protocols. We then present results to demonstrate that CML outperforms its routing counterparts over the simulated range of network sizes and particular critical area.