Asia-Pacific nations unify disaster approach
BIANG, Brunei -- Military engineers with the U.S., Singapore and the People’s Republic of China demonstrated their water purification capabilities to senior leaders at a mock disaster site in Biang, Brunei, June 19 as part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and military medicine exercise.
The simulated disaster site was the location of the field training exercise portion of the multilateral exercise that provided a platform for regional partner nations to address shared security challenges, strengthen defense cooperation, enhance interoperability, and promote stability in the region.
At the site, engineers, search and rescue teams and medical professionals from different nations worked together against a simulated post-tropical revolving storm while conducting typhoon rescue, survey, recovery and disaster-relief missions.
“At a disaster site, it is extremely important to have clean water to disperse between patients and personnel,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Scott I. Hampton, an engineer with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5. “This was a great opportunity for us to learn how other nations operate. Each day, we came out here to work together with the Chinese and Singaporean engineers. We help set up their equipment, and they helped set up ours. It has been a great experience working together, and I look forward to further interactions in the future.”
Currently in a testing phase, U.S. Marine and Navy engineers set up the miniature deployable assistance water purification system, according to Todd A. Jonas, a technology experimentation specialist with the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific Experimentation Center.
“This system is strictly designed for disaster relief missions,” said Jonas. “It is capable of being set up and operational within minutes. It can sustain itself unsupported for up to 72 hours and can also run on various power sources including solar and generated.”
For the demonstration, multinational engineers quickly assembled their water purification systems and allowed senior leaders to observe, learn about the capabilities, and sample the purified water.
“I was impressed with everyone’s capabilities throughout the demonstration,” said People’s Liberation Army Capt. Wang Weijin, a PLA engineer. “Seeing all the nation’s come together for disaster relief was a great experience.”
Representing the U.S., Lt. Gen. Terry G. Robling, commanding general of MARFORPAC, observed the various demonstrations throughout the mock disaster site, showing his support for the exercise.
Taking place June 17-20, the exercise provided an opportunity for participating nations to hone their communication skills and learn from each other’s unique experiences and expertise, better preparing partner nations for a unified approach to future contingencies.
Those participating in the exercise included medical and engineer personnel from the ASEAN-comprised nations of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Burma, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, Vietnam and other Asia-Pacific nations of Australia, the PRC, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the U.S.