Sri Lanka is first mission stop of Pacific Partnership 2017

Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission Pacific Partnership 2017 made its initial mission stop in Hambantota, Sri Lanka on March 7 with the arrival of the United States Navy’s expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Fall River (T-EPF-4).

This is also the first mission to Sri Lanka in the 12-year history of the annual civil-military operation.

The Pacific Partnership mission in Sri Lanka continues through March 18 and will make follow-on mission stops in Malaysia and Vietnam.

Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific and aims to enhance regional coordination in areas such as medical readiness and preparedness for manmade and natural disasters.

Participating in this year’s Sri Lanka mission are partner military and non-government personnel from the United States, Australia, and Japan.

While in Hambantota, Pacific Partnership personnel will work side-by-side with Sri Lankan medical professionals, participate in civil engineering projects, conduct HA/DR readiness drills, and partner in community engagements.

Lt. Cmdr. Robert Pipkin, the American officer in charge of the Sri Lanka mission, said he was excited about the inaugural arrival of Pacific Partnership to Sri Lanka. “This mission stop will include engineering projects, medical subject matter expert exchanges, public band performances and community relations events. We aim to learn from each other and develop better ways to work together in this mission, which will better prepare everyone to respond in a crisis or natural disaster.”

Pacific Partnership medical personnel will team up with Sri Lankan doctors and nurses to conduct subject matter expert exchanges at Tissamaharama Base Hospital, the General Hospital and Nurse Training School in Hambantota, as well as other local clinics and hospitals.

“The United States is ready to help Sri Lanka respond more quickly to humanitarian challenges, and the Sri Lankan people are able to share their valuable lessons learned from past natural disasters,” said U.S. ambassador Atul Keshap. “This is a partnership in the truest sense.”