Australian Defence Force (ADF) inform that its medical personnel working alongside colleagues from the armed forces of the US, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Chile have treated almost 3000 people in the Cambodian city of Sihanoukville and the surrounding region.
The Cambodian clinics were held as part of Pacific Partnership 2014, a US-sponsored humanitarian and civic assistance exercise aimed at strengthening international relationships with partner and host nations in the Asia-Pacific.
The Commander of Australia’s contingent, Lieutenant Colonel John Cronin, said members of his team were humbled by the reception they received.
“Pacific Partnership is all about lending a helping hand to the region, and the gratitude of the Cambodian people for our help was sincere,” LTCOL Cronin said. “During our 10 days in Cambodia our people worked hard to help those in need as well as delivering training to improve the skills of Cambodian medical practitioners.”
Eighty-year-old ‘Lybi’ was among the oldest patients to attend the clinic. Flight Lieutenant Ben James, from Ipswich in Queensland, treated the Khmer Rouge survivor who left the clinic on new crutches.
“‘Lybi’ had a few things ailing her,” FLTLT James said. “She told us that until now she had been carried everywhere by her family. The crutches and the medicines we gave her will change her life – it was an incredibly satisfying experience.”
The ADF contingent has now departed Cambodia, embarked in the 9000-tonne Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship JS Kunisaki, bound for their final destination in the Philippines.
The medical teams will conduct a number of training workshops and medical clinics in the city of Tacloban, which was devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan late last year.