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The United States Navy's hospital ship, USNS Mercy, is expected to arrive in the country over the weekend, to participate in the world's largest joint humanitarian mission in the Pacific, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.
The USNS Mercy will anchor offshore at Calbayor City port facility in Samar on June 17. It will join the Japanese ship Oosumi, which will arrive a day later, for the Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12), which is a series of medical civic assistance programs (MEDCAP), veterinary civic assistance programs (VETCAP), and dental civic assistance programs (DENCAP).
Samar was chosen as the primary beneficiary of the PP12 being a disaster-prone province.
The USNS Mercy, the premier hospital ship of the US Navy, is capable of rapid and mobile acute medical and surgical procedures with a total of 1,000 beds and can accommodate 200 patients per day.
It is also highly-capable in giving medical and surgical specialties along with basic medical services like immunizations, primary care, pediatrics, optometry, dental care, nutrition counseling, infectious disease treatment, endocrinology, gastroenterology, and dermatology, among others.
The vessel bears the âRed Crossâ symbol making any attack against it a violation of the International Humanitarian Law.
The Japanese ship Oosumi, meanwhile, will arrive on June 18 for sealift and airlift operations. A C1 Japanese aircraft will also bring in 24 Japanese medical personnel to Manila.
The Pacific Partnership 2012 originated from humanitarian initiatives following the tsunami that hit Indonesia in 2004 and killed more than 200,000 people.
It was developed by the US Navy in a âwhole of governmentâ approach of American policy in the Pacific and is joined by partner nations including Thailand, Australia, Malaysia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea, Chile, Peru, and Netherlands.
The PP12 has the motto, âPrepare in Calm to Respond in Crisisâ in addressing necessary precautions in calamity prone countries in the Pacific. In line with this, the Philippines 8th Infantry Division activated its disaster response task force to coordinate with local disaster and risk reduction councils and foreign partners to conduct table top exercises on humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
The exercises are expected to start on June 19.
The MEDCAP, VETCAP, and DENCAP will be conducted in Catbalogan City and Calbayog City and the towns of Silanga, Gandara, Carayman, Veriato, Malaga, and San Isidro.
Subject Matter Expert Exchange seminars and other Community Relations activities will also be held in selected areas in Samar to prepare local residents against calamities.
Engineers from the AFP and the US are also conducting engineering civic assistance projects involving the construction and renovation of schools and a health center in Samar province.
They are constructing a two-classroom school building in Palanit, San Isidro, Northern Samar; renovating a health center in Bugtong, Tinambacan District, Western Samar; renovating San Jorge Elementary School in San Jorge Samar; and reconstructing Tambongan Elementary School in Gandara District, Western Samar.
AFP Chief of Staff General Jessie Dellosa expressed his all-out support to the Pacific Partnership 2012 and the arrival of foreign contingents as it will âgreatly help in preparing disaster-prone areas as well as in advancing the spirit of cooperation and collaboration in dealing with man-made and natural disasters.â
âAs a country often besieged with calamities particularly at this time of the year, we have to ensure that our people, especially those in high-risk areas, are properly informed and prepared against disasters. We are very thankful to the USNS Mercy and the JS Oosumi for their valuable contributions in humanitarian and civic assistance programs intended not only to provide relief and temporary solutions, but more so in teaching the importance of preparation and precaution,â Dellosa said. InterAksyon.com