Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

140714 - MR - Exercise Long Reach

14 July 2014

PNG Disaster Relief Planning – Exercise Long Reach 14

The Papua New Guinea Government with the assistance of the Australian Defence Force and international partners is undertaking a planning exercise for a whole-of-government response to a major natural disaster that could strike PNG in the future.

Held in Port Moresby from 10-18 July, Exercise Long Reach will exercise the capacity of the PNG Government to support a large-scale disaster relief operation. In this case the scenario involves a major earthquake in the Bismark Sea, triggering a tsunami that would impact the North Coast causing severe damage to roads, hospitals and other vital infrastructure.

The participants in Exercise Long Reach include the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, Royal PNG Constabulary, the National Disaster Centre, PNG Government departments, non-government organisations and international organisations.

A key focus of the exercise is supporting the development of the PNGDF’s capacity as a first responder across national and regional crisis events, in line with the recently-released PNG Defence White Paper 2013.

Contingency response planners from Australia’s Deployable Joint Force Headquarters will support the activity, assisted by other specialist military planning staff from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the United States.

“The Exercise provides a valuable opportunity for the various organisations to come together and exercise their ability to provide support in the event of a major disaster,” said Head of Australian Defence Staff in PNG, Colonel Dick Parker.

“Activities such as this one are vital to any country, as it develops preparedness for large-scale relief operations, organisations improve their ability to work together, and contingency plans are developed that a government can use if disaster strikes.”

Exercise Long Reach will conclude with participants presenting their final plans to the Commander of the PNGDF Brigadier General Gilbert Toropo and the Commander of Australia’s Deployable Joint Force Headquarters Major General Stuart Smith on Friday 18 July.

Members of the media are welcome to attend the final planning stages on Thursday 17 July and Friday 18 July at the Grand Papua Hotel.