Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

MR 071019 Disaster


19 October 2007

For immediate release

PNG and Australia plan for disaster relief


A major training exercise took place in PNG this week to improve the way that disaster relief and humanitarian assistance is planned and delivered during times of need.

Exercise Long Reach 2007, which was hosted jointly by the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) and the Australian Defence Force (ADF), concluded in Port Moresby yesterday.

The training exercise saw soldiers from the PNGDF working alongside colleagues from the Australian Army’s 3rd Brigade, which is based in Townsville, Australia.

They were joined by counterparts from a range of PNG Government, international and non-government organisations, including PNG’s National Disaster Centre and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The training exercise worked on the skills required in times of need, such as during the Aitape tsunami disaster in 1997.

Participants presented the outcomes of their planning activities yesterday at a brief hosted by Brigadier John Caligari, DSC, AM, Commander of the Australian Army’s 3rd Brigade. The principal guest was Minister for Inter-Government Relations, Hon Job Pomat, MP. PNG’s National Disaster Centre is part of the Minister’s portfolio.

Minister Pomat said: “I applaud the initiative of the PNG and Australian Defence Forces in bringing together these interested organisations to improve natural disaster awareness.

“Natural disasters are a tragic fact of life in our region. Exercise Long Reach provides a valuable opportunity to share our experiences and capabilities, so that we can work together more effectively as partners, when these disasters occur.”

Brigadier Caligari offered his thanks to the representatives of the many organisations who participated in the exercise. He said: “Their level of support has been outstanding.”

Exercise Long Reach is conducted in PNG every two years. It aims to train military, government and non-government organisations in contingency planning procedures for conducting disaster relief and humanitarian assistance missions. The exercise is also designed to promote closer ties between the participating organisations.

Other organisations taking part included AusAID, PNG Red Cross, PNG Fire Services, the National Weather Office, the Salvation Army, Caritas PNG, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.


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