Soldiers from 2nd Land Force Group performa beach landing, L-R Sapper Jamie Larsen, Sapper Barry Graham Lance Corporal Shane Chadwick. (LN09-0072-15tn)
10 September 2009
For 300 soldiers of Linton’s 2nd Land Force Group, Wanganui has become the centre of a disaster relief operation as they deliver aid supplies, restore infrastructure, provide medical assistance, and assist the government of the fictional nation 'Sione Latu' following a devastating 8.5 magnitude earthquake as part of Exercise Malo E Lelei.
Aid has been distributed to various locations from Wanganui to Kakatahi, Marton, and Pohangina. As part of the scenario there are a number of people playing the role of homeless and injured islanders, Red Cross workers, contractors, and government officials so that not only are the practical aspects of aid delivery tested, but also that the cultural, business, and political processes are followed.
The logistics teams have been receiving and distributing aid by truck and air while other teams that comprise the Task Group have been busy with medical scenarios that have involved the Wanganui Hospital emergency department receiving two sets of mass casualties following a simulated rock slide and a vehicle accident. The patients were delivered to the hospital using Air Force Iroquois helicopters and the Army’s Light Armoured Vehicles.
Army Engineers have set up a water purification plant at Kakariki to provide water for the task group, islanders who need it, and other NGO’s working on the island. They also provided inflatable boat support to get food and water supplies into Kai Iwi which has been “cut off” since the earthquake struck last week.
This exercise brings together all the elements in the army, as well as the Navy and Air Force that would normally be expected to respond to a disaster situation.
Each skill is not used in isolation, the various scenarios have been designed to require two or more of the skill sets ranging from medical, security, logistics, to engineers and legal.
“This exercise is designed to test our capability to deploy at short notice in aid of our Pacific neighbours” says Colonel Howie Duffy, Commander 2nd Land Force Group.