Pacific Partnership helps thousands in Cambodia
25 June 2014
Australian Defence Force medical personnel working alongside colleagues from the armed forces of the US, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Chile have treated almost 3,000 people in the Cambodian city of Sihanoukville and the surrounding region.
The Cambodian clinics were held as part of Pacific Partnership 2014 – a U S sponsored humanitarian and civic assistance exercise aimed at strengthening international relationships with partner and host nations in the Asia-Pacific.
The Commander of Australia’s contingent, Lieutenant Colonel John Cronin said members of his team were humbled by the reception they received.
“Pacific Partnership is all about lending a helping hand to the region, and the gratitude of the Cambodian people for our help was sincere,” Lieutenant Colonel Cronin said.
“During our 10 days in Cambodia our people worked hard to help those in need as well as delivering training to improve the skills of Cambodian medical practitioners.”
80-year-old ‘Lybi’ was among the oldest patients to attend the clinic. Flight Lieutenant Ben James, from Ipswich in Queensland, treated the Khmer Rouge survivor who left the clinic on new crutches.
“Lybi had a few things ailing her,” Flight Lieutenant James said. “She told us that until now she had been carried everywhere by her family. The crutches and the medicines we gave her will change her life – it was an incredibly satisfying experience.”
‘Lybi’ thanked Flight Lieutenant James for his help. “I am grateful for the medicine, because I have lived in great pain for many, many years,” she said via an interpreter.
The ADF contingent has now departed Cambodia, embarked in the 9,000-tonne Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship JS Kunisaki, bound for their final destination in the Philippines.
The medical teams will conduct a number of training workshops and medical clinics in the city of Tacolban, which was devastated by super typhoon Haiyan late last year.