First ASEAN disaster relief exercise ends

The first ASEAN humanitarian and disaster relief exercise, in Indonesia ’s West Java , ended on July 15, local media reported.

The three-day exercise, co-hosted by the Singaporean and Indonesian armed forces, was attended by more than 100 military personnel ASEAN member countries.

The first of its kind conducted, the exercise 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.

Workshops were also held at the Changi Command and Control Centre.

Singapore 's Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant-General Neo Kian Hong, in a speech at the closing of the exercise, said that the drill had strengthened ties among ASEAN militaries and enhanced ASEAN's capacity for disaster relief operations.

Indonesian armed forces chief Agus Suhartono noted in his speech that the military was an ideal force in disaster relief as it could respond 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 said./.

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