Home' Army News : October 29th 2009 Contents 18 CENTREPIECE
Recovery and aid efforts are in full swing in earthquake-ravaged Sumatra, LS Paul McCallu
ENGINEERS from 1CER have
packed up their water purification
units and returned home, but other
Australian soldiers continue to
help the Indonesian people affect-
ed by the earthquake that struck
Sumatra on September 30.
The two Reverse Osmosis Water Purification
Units produced more than 1.3 million litres of
water to augment the water supply in the city of
Padang. They ceased operations late last week after
the restoration of Padang's water treatment facility.
"The team has done a fantastic job in very
adverse conditions," Lt Tim Rowe said as the water
purification operations wound down.
"The local community has really embraced us,
we have become a part of their everyday lives. The
boys here are on a first name basis with most of the
kids and the local school was coming down to the
site regularly to see what we were doing."
Other 1CER engineers arrived on HMAS
Kanimbla on October 16 and promptly moved to
Seigeringging, 70km north of Padang, and set to
work building an interim health care facility for the
The facility will provide ongoing health care
until the town's health centre, which was destroyed
in the earthquake, can be rebuilt.
The Australian Joint Task Force engineer advis-
er, Maj Brent Maddock, said the building had been
designed for maximum flexibility.
"The building will have an open floor plan and
moveable partition internal walls to enable the
community to customise its layout to meet specific
needs," Maj Maddock said.
Eager to begin work, the engineers began dig-
ging holes for foundations and footings while their
automated equipment was unloaded at a nearby
beach from Kanimbla.
Once the town's regular health care facility is
rebuilt, the interim facility will remain for use by
Health care team CO Lt-Col Lachlan Sinclair,
1HSB, said the new facility would be staffed by the
town's displaced medical staff.
"Once completed, the new facility will be able
to continue the good work we have begun," Lt-Col
Sinclair said. "Our operation will be able to wind
down and 1HSB will return to Australia having
completed another successful deployment."
Patients have been travelling up to four hours
just to attend the ADF's Primary Health Care
Facility (PHCF) in Seigeringging. Up to 70 patients
are being seen each day.
Army outreach clinics have also been estab-
lished to provide basic medical aid to the residents
of outlying villages that can't afford to travel to the
1HSB members are travelling daily to one
of three small villages within a 5km radius of
Seigeringging to provide primary health care to a
larger number of patients.
Each of the three villages will be attended on a
rotational basis ensuring ongoing treatment can be
maintained for the duration of the deployment.
"We are conducting a tw
in areas that have suffered c
from the earthquake," Lt-Co
"Most of these people d
money to travel to seek med
busy trying to rebuild their
has been a second priority t
The four-person teams o
a medic and an interpreter a
amount of supplies they can
up in the form of the nearby
Cases that need further t
sive care are transported to
medical evacuations can the
"The need for the clinic
discussions with local healt
co-ordinated with the villag
Col Sinclair said.
"These people have been
to the local population and
The outreach medical st
and diseases they have only
Some of the medical condit
end of the scale, including c
There is little the staff can d
tions but the locals are still
With experienced emerg
staff and personnel who dep
the Pakistan earthquakes in
1HSB are being cared for a
"The lessons we learnt f
put in place and we are deb
each day," Lt-Col Sinclair s
"The troops are handling
confronting situation extrem
The outreach clinics wil
along with the PHCF until t
tre is established in Seigerin
Meanwhile, Army civil
tion specialists are putting t
assessing buildings that can
Army teams, in co-ordin
Department of Foreign Af
Indonesian government, a
assessments to determine w
Sgt Chris Jones said the
posed its challenges.
"Looking from a builder
struction methods are very
world, the difference is the
als," Sgt Jones said.
"We are looking at a lot
age to partition walls that d
structural weight. These wa
repaired without affecting t
ing to remain standing."
Structural columns and b
of stress from being shaken
taking the impact of upper f
lower supports. There are m
appear fine at first glance bu
Heavy load: A Mack truck is off-loaded from an LCM8 onto the beach of Parmian, near Padang, to assist with the
rebuild of the earthquake hit region.
Photo by AB Andrew Dakin
Healthy construction: Spr Alex McPhedran, 1CER, works at the site of an interim medical facility being built in
the village of Seigeringging.
Photo Cpl Guy Young Digging it: Spr Brenton Neill, 1CER, starts work on the construction of the inte
part of Operation Padang Assist.
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