Australian Navy Delivers Veterinary Care


Veterinarians and technicians from the U.S Army, Australian Army, Spanish Navy and non-government organizations World Vets and Vets without Borders, concluded a four-day mission to provide veterinary care for the residents of Puno, Timor-Leste, June 20-23.

They were there as part of Pacific Partnership, an annual humanitarian assistance mission. During the course of the last two months, the Pacific Partnership team has treated more than 30,000 patients, completed 19 engineering civic action projects, cared for more than 400 animals, engaged in nearly 30 community service projects, and developed friendships in Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

The majority of animals seen by the veterinarians included dogs and pigs. The animals were neutered as well as treated for fleas and worms.

It was exciting to be working in the field,” said U.S. Army Captain Hakim Hamici. “We looked after a lot of domestic animals. This helps the well being of both the animal and its owner. The village people were very thankful, and we were happy that they were so receptive.”

There was also an opportunity for information exchanges with visits by local agricultural students and volunteers from the Timorese Animal Lovers Society. Pacific Partnership veterinarians exchanged information about disease control and animal handling while learning more about how Timorese communities manage livestock.

The Pacific Partnership team was transported to the remote location of Puno via two Royal Australian Navy Landing Craft Heavy (LCH) ships. These ‘pick up trucks of the sea’ are 132 feet in length and can carry a maximum of 180 tons of cargo. Their shallow draft makes them ideal for delivering people and equipment to areas that are otherwise unreachable by larger ships. This capability is exactly what missions like Pacific Partnership require in order to bring assistance to remote locations.

“Without the contribution of our Australian partners, many people in the country might not even hear of Pacific Partnership and what we’re trying to achieve,” said Capt. Jesse A. Wilson, Pacific Partnership 2011 mission commander. “The LCHs’ capabilities carry our message and support to the countryside, which is frequently hardest hit by natural disasters.”

This is the second time the Royal Australian Navy LCHs have supported Pacific Partnership 2011. They also transported people and equipment to three remote locations in Vanuatu to conduct medical, dental and veterinary civic action programs.

During the past five years, Pacific Partnership has provided medical, dental, veterinary, educational, and preventive medicine services to more than 230,000 people and completed more than 150 engineering projects in 15 countries. This year, the Pacific Partnership team has completed missions in Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste. The mission will conclude in the Federated States of Micronesia.

Source: navy, June 27, 2011;