The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s JS Kunisaki (LST 4003), carrying a multinational crew of U.S., Australian, Malaysian and Japanese personnel, arrived in Tacloban July 4 as part of Pacific Partnership 2014 (PP14).
The ship and its roughly 300 embarked personnel arrived nearly eight months after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the region.
The 10-day operation consists of professional medical exchanges, including providing basic medical, dental, and optometry clinics; several professional medical knowledge exchange seminars; and veterinary surgical and vaccination services.
Seabees from Amphibious Construction Battalion One and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion One have already begun working with members from the Armed Forces Philippines on four construction projects at three separate sites, and the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band will conduct several public performances.
Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. Although the U.S. Pacific Fleet-led mission provides tangible assistance to the local community, by definition its intention and purpose is to better prepare for emergencies and disaster situations such as was experienced less than a year ago by the city of Tacloban during Typhoon Haiyan.
“It’s obvious to see why we were invited to Tacloban given what they’ve been through. There is a lot of work to be done here, but many different organizations and nations are currently doing some great work,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Ron Piramide, PP14 Philippine team officer in charge.
Kunisaki has already visited Vietnam and Cambodia, and the Republic of the Philippines is the last stop for this year’s mission. The Southern portion of Pacific Partnership, conducted by Task Force Forager, an expeditionary command element from the Navy’s 30th Naval Construction Regiment and led by Capt. Rod Moore, provided assistance to the host nations of Indonesia and Timor-Leste.
Pacific Partnership is in its ninth iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Asia-Pacific region.
Press Release, July 07, 2014; Image: Wikimedia