The Indian Coast Guard has a home facility
Largest disaster relief mission abroad to date
On December 26, 2004, the seaquake off the coast of Sumatra caused unprecedented damage. Immediately after the disaster, disaster relief teams made up of doctors, police officers, firefighters and members of the coast guard left Japan for the affected region. In addition, experts to analyze DNA and search for buried subjects were sent to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Maldives.
Three ships with on-board helicopters of the Naval Forces of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) set course for the coast of Phuket in Thailand to take part in search and rescue operations. In Indonesia, help is currently being provided with the transport of relief supplies and with improving medical care and hygienic conditions.
As a result of this disaster, a total of twelve teams of doctors, aid and experts were sent from Japan, which together comprise 248 people. In addition, 1,580 SDF men were given the order to operate in the disaster area; This mission represents the largest relief mission by Japanese disaster relief teams abroad to date.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced on January 6th at the ASEAN crisis summit that 500 million US dollars would be made available for relief measures. Of this, US $ 250 million is earmarked for aid by international organizations and a further US $ 250 million for aid on a bilateral level.
Since a tsunami early warning system already exists for the Pacific, 4 million US dollars were made available for the immediate establishment of an early warning system against tsunami in the Indian Ocean region.
In addition, at the United Nations Conference on Disaster Prevention on January 18 in Kobe, Prime Minister Koizumi proposed a “Disaster Prevention Cooperation Initiative” to incorporate disaster prevention aspects into development aid. In this initiative, Japan will be actively involved in the training of experts in the field of disaster prevention as part of its ODA.
Activities of the disaster relief teams in the affected countries
(Status: January 20, 2005):
- Indonesia (medical team)
A medical team of around twenty people has been working in Banda Aceh since January 2nd, where they set up camp on a soccer field. In addition to treating the injured and sick on site, consultations in the field of public hygiene and disease prevention measures are carried out in cooperation with Indonesian institutions.
- Sri Lanka (team of doctors and experts)
Since December 30th, a team of around twenty doctors has treated more than two thousand patients in a primary school in the province of Ampara. Despite the poor weather conditions, this was the first foreign aid team on site, which also helps with advice on health care and public hygiene. Since January 16, a team of experts for reconstruction aid has also been in action in Sri Lanka, which is investigating the needs in the individual locations.
- Thailand (aid, medical and expert team)
An aid team, consisting of members of the police, the fire brigade and the coast guard, has been in action in the Phanga province since December 29. Tasks include the identification of the corpses of Japanese vacationers as well as search and transport missions using a helicopter of the fire brigade.
Since December 31, a team of 22 doctors has been running health stations in primary schools and refugee camps in Takuapa. In addition, inspection trips are undertaken in the mountain regions.
A team of experts from the police works with teams from other countries to identify the dead by means of DNA analysis, while another team of experts from the fire and naval forces instructs the Thai Ministry of the Interior and the country's navy in disaster prevention and search techniques, among other things.
- Maldives (medical and expert teams)
Since January 1st, a team of ten doctors has been treating patients on the Atoll Muli. A team of experts in reconstruction aid is planned to be dispatched from January 27th to examine the needs on the ground.
Reconstruction aid on site - commitment of the SDF
Use in Thailand
On December 28, the government gave the two destroyers "Kirishima" and "Takanami" as well as the supply ship "Hamana", which had ended their mission in the Indian Ocean and were on their way back to Japan, the order to set course for the island of Phuket . The association reached the area on December 29th and conducted search and rescue operations through January 1st. In addition, members of a disaster relief team and equipment were transported with on-board helicopters.
A total of 57 bodies were recovered during the period. The commander of the “Hamana”, frigate captain Fukabori, said about this mission after returning: “Many of the recovered corpses were children. It was not easy for the crew because everyone thought of their own children. They continued their work with tears in their eyes. "
Use in Indonesia
On January 3, the Indonesian government officially askedfor support in the form of aid activities. The government of Japan then sent an SDF advance team (approx. 20 people) to Indonesia on January 4th to examine the situation on the ground and the specific help needed. On January 6, C-130 transport planes took off for Thailand to set up a base at Utapao airfield. Aid missions have been flown from here since January 10th. Among other things, aid items such as blankets, food and medical equipment are flown to Indonesia and United Nations officials are transported.
On January 12th, the SDF naval forces dispatched the transport ship "Kunisaki" (including helicopters and vehicles from the SDF ground forces on board) and the supply ship "Tokiwa" to the region. The destroyer "Kurama" followed on January 14th. The units will cross off Sumatra and support the activities of the ground forces.
The ground forces of the SDF use helicopters to transport aid supplies as well as medical care and disease prevention. On January 14th, a "rapid medical team" was sent to Banda Aceh as an advance command. This team has been conducting vaccinations and other health activities since January 19th.
The head of the team, Oberfeldarzt Kaku, said on the occasion of the start of the engagement: "I have instructed the members of the team to use themselves with great compassion, despite the language barriers, in order to convey a feeling of affection to the patients."
The Minister of State for Defense, Yoshinori Ono, visited Indonesia on January 9th. On this occasion, the Indonesian Defense Minister Yuwono Sudarsono asked for the help of the SDF, which had shown its extraordinary skills in its previous missions in the field of medical care and disaster relief. There is also great hope on the ground that the SDF will make its personal contribution.
(Source: "Cabinet", No. 67)
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