Australian Defence Force (ADF) medical specialists and Army engineers are heading home after an intensive five weeks improving schools and hospitals and providing valuable medical training in Timor-Leste.
The Australians have been working alongside Timor-Leste Defence Force (F-FDTL) and United States military personnel as part of Pacific Partnership 2014 (PP14).
The commander of the Australian contingent, Wing Commander Daryll Topp, said his team has worked tirelessly and their efforts have been most appreciated by the Timorese.
“What we have achieved here is significant,” he said.
Nine ADF medical specialists have provided training for Timorese military paramedics and other health specialists and a dental team provided services to local schools and communities.
A team of 21 ADF engineers has worked with the US Navy’s Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1 (the ‘Seabees’) and F-FDTL engineers to construct a new emergency room at the Comoro Medical Health Centre, an outdoor kitchen at ComoroIntermediateSchool and an ablutions facility at FarolSchool.
“The training and mentoring we have given to local medical staff will prove invaluable and each building project will benefit a large number of people,” Wing Commander Topp said.
Director of FarolPrimary School, Irene Suares Morato, said she was excited about the new sanitation installation at her school.
“We had the chance to see Australians and Americans working hard in our school for the last four weeks,” Mrs Suares Morato said.
“It was lovely to see how well they got along with our students and it was sometimes hard to get the children back into class.”
Mrs Suares Morato said that the past has been challenging but she now feels that Timor-Leste is moving forward.
“Life in Timor-Leste is improving and it is much to the benefit of our children who are our future. Projects like these are making a difference,” she said.
Pacific Partnership is a United States-sponsored humanitarian and civic assistance exercise aimed at strengthening international relationships with partner and host nations in the Asia-Pacific. It began as a military-led humanitarian response to the devastation wrought by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that swept through parts of South-East Asia.
Since 2006, Pacific Partnership has focused on providing humanitarian and civic action programs to improve critical infrastructure and support host nation programs that provide health, education, and common services to local populations.
Australia is the only partner nation to have participated in every Pacific Partnership mission since its inception in 2006.
Australia’s Pacific Partnership mission continues with nine Australians embarked in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship JS Kunisaki, a 9,000-tonne Osumi-class amphibious operations ship. The multinational team on the Kunisaki is delivering medical, dental, veterinary and engineering aid to Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Wing Commander Daryll Topp is available for interview – please submit your request via firstname.lastname@example.org
All imagery relating to PP14 is available on the Defence Image Gallery at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20141536
Imagery of the PP14 closing ceremony is available on the Defence Image Gallery at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20141842
Video of PP14 will be fed to TV networks in the Press Gallery, Parliament House, Canberra later today.
Pacific Partnership links:
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999