Pacific Partnership 2016, embarked aboard hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), arrived in Padang August 19 for the fifth and final mission stop of 2016.
This year marks the fifth time the mission has visited Indonesia and will include partner nations’ military forces from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea and the United States as well as experts from several non-governmental organizations including Project HOPE and HOPE Worldwide.
Indonesian civilians and military, and Pacific Partnership personnel will work side-by-side during disaster response training, civil engineering projects, Women, Peace, and Security seminars, subject matter expert exchanges in medical procedures and a live field training exercise that will improve the capacity of the local government and partner militaries to respond to an earthquake in the West Sumatra province.
“The medical projects are centered around subject matter expert exchange events and workshops focusing on dentistry, nursing, and medical considerations relating to natural disasters,” said Lt. Rebecca Wolf, country officer in charge of Indonesia for Pacific Partnership 2016. “Educational outreach teams will also conduct eye screenings, dental and public health hygiene lectures alongside Indonesian counterparts.”
Participating nations of the Pacific Partnership mission have worked with the people of Indonesia during times of calm and also crisis that include the 2004 and 2005 tsunami relief operations in Banda Aceh and responding in the aftermath of the Padang earthquake in 2009.
The humanitarian assistance disaster relief field training exercise in Indonesia will be the largest exercise of Pacific Partnership 2016. There will be more than 200 total participants involved in four locations in and around Padang. The scenario will involve Pacific Partnership personnel and participating Indonesian agencies, including local government leaders and the Indonesian military. The participating entities will need to plan and coordinate a collective response to two large earthquakes and the resulting aftermath.
In addition to medical and HADR knowledge exchange events, U.S. Navy Seabees will work with Indonesian military engineers on three projects, including the construction of a community shelter and evacuation road that help build resiliency in the local community in case of natural disaster.
Before arriving in Indonesia, Pacific Partnership 2016 completed five mission stops in Timor Leste, Philippines, Vietnam, Palau and Malaysia.