ASEAN disaster relief exercise ends in Indonesia

16:19, July 15, 2011      

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The first ASEAN humanitarian and disaster relief exercise in West Java of Indonesia ended on Thursday, local media reported here on Friday.

The three-day exercise co-hosted by the Singapore and Indonesian armed forces was participated by more than 100 military personnel from Singapore, Indonesia and other ASEAN countries. Workshops were also held at the Changi Command and Control Centre.

The exercise, the first of its kind conducted, involved simulation of Singaporean and Indonesian medical teams evacuating disaster victims with helicopters.

The local community also benefited from the presence of medical personnel, with the setting up of a field hospital for minor operations ranging from the fixing of a cleft lip to the removal of a tumor, the Jakarta globe reported.

Singapore's Chief of Defense Force, Lieutenant-General Neo Kian Hong, in a speech at the closing of the exercise, said that the drill had strengthened the ties among ASEAN militaries.

He also said it enhanced ASEAN's capacity for disaster relief operations.

"We certainly look forward to more exercises like this and maybe in different scenarios as well," he added during a doorstop interview after the speech.

Indonesian armed forces chief Agus Suhartono noted in his speech that the military was an ideal force in disaster relief as it could act in "a quick and massive way."

"And often, a natural disaster is so enormous that a nation cannot face it alone. Thus it needs cooperation and a big helping hand from friendly nations," he added.

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