Singapore Military Tsunami Relief
[The below post is entirely the work of an Alert Reader, who used the website of the Singapore military at http://www.mindef.gov.sg/index2.asp?cat=SAFTsunamiReliefEfforts ] As part of Singapore ’s relief efforts in Indonesia following the earthquake and Tsunami of 26 Dec, the Singapore Navy’s LST (Landing Ship, Tank) RSS Endurance sailed for West Sumatra on 31 Dec and arrived off the coast of Meulaboh on 2 Jan. The RSS Endurance was sent with a humanitarian assistance task force on board, comprising a medical team, an engineer team and a logistics support team on board. Two Super Puma helicopters that are part of the same task force left separately for Indonesia on 30 Dec. The LST will serve as a helicopter staging area and co-ordination centre for the task force’s operations. The two Super Pumas will assist with disaster relief operations and the transport of supplies and personnel, while the engineer team will assist with the clearing of roads and debris. The engineers will operate heavy equipment such as excavators and bulldozers. The medical team includes five civilian volunteers, and it will be providing healthcare and medical treatment to victims. The logistics support team will perform general duties, such as setting up shelters and assisting the other components of the task force. There are 472 personnel in the humanitarian assistance task force. Since arriving at Meulaboh, the task force has established two landing sites. This constitutes a major breakthrough as Meulaboh had been cut off since the earthquake a week ago and could only be supplied by helicopters. With the landing sites, heavy engineering equipment and vehicles and significant loads of humanitarian supplies can now be brought from the RSN’s landing ship into Meulaboh. The heavy equipment is urgently needed to clear roads, and possibly prepare landing strips for aircraft. The establishment of the landing site was a difficult operation as the entire shoreline of Meulaboh had changed drastically due to the tsunami and severe flooding. The medical team has also deployed ashore to set up a field hospital and have begun providing medical treatment to the people there. The team has treated about 200 patients so far. The SAF has also assisted the TNI to set up its field hospital in Meulaboh. A second LST, RSS Persistence, with medical and engineer teams on board, set sail for Sumatra the afternoon of 4 Jan and is expected to arrive off Meulaboh on the evening of 6 January. She will serve as another helicopter staging area for the SAF humanitarian assistance task force’s operations. RSS Persistence carries 203 personnel and other heavy equipment such as cranes, and 4 BRONCO All Terrain Track Carriers (ATTC), as well as four container loads of food and medical supplies from the Singapore Red Cross. Note: The Endurance class of LST is a designed and built by Singapore Kinetics Marine; it is 140m; about 8000+ tons full load and is able to take 2 helicoptors.