Pacific Partnership concludes first mission stop of 2016

Pacific Partnership 2016 ship USNS Mercy departed Timor-Leste June 21, after completing two weeks of subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE) in civil-military disaster response preparedness, cooperative health engagements (CHE) and engineering projects.

A key event of this mission stop was the five-day humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) symposium, which was co-hosted by the Timor-Leste defense force Falantil-Forca Defeza Timor Leste (F-FDTL) and Pacific Partnership.

Civilians and military personnel from partner nations and humanitarian organizations participated in discussions, workshops and a tabletop exercise to focus on civil-military coordination to support a collaborative, rapid response to natural disasters in Timor-Leste. The symposium also integrated discussions of women’s role in disaster response planning and execution.

“At every level we’ve continued to build upon the partnerships we began ten years ago when Pacific Partnership first visited Timor-Leste,” said Capt. Tom Williams, Pacific Partnership 2016 mission commander.

Engineering projects conducted by Timorese soldiers, U.S. Navy Seabees, U.S. Marines and Australian engineers, included the renovation of Maneluana Primary School and Aimutin School, which also serve as civilian shelters during disasters.

Medical teams conducted various engagements in Timor-Leste and aboard Mercy, including SMEEs and CHEs for surgery, dentistry, antenatal and postnatal care, women’s health, blood bank administration, biomedical repair, children’s health, nutrition, industrial hygiene infection control and veterinary services.

After Timor-Leste, Mercy will conduct mission stops in the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.