October 19, 2009 -- With the arrival of HMAS Kanimbla and Army engineers in the Padang area over the weekend, the Australian Defence Force contribution to the earthquake affected city has transitioned to reconstruction and recovery work.
The engineers from the Darwin based 1st Combat Engineer Regiment promptly moved to Seigeringging and set to work building an interim health care facility for the local population.
The facility will provide ongoing health care until the town’s health centre, which was destroyed in the earthquake on September 30, can be rebuilt.
“The building will have an open floor plan and moveable partition internal walls to enable the community to customise it’s layout to meet specific needs,” the Australian Joint Task Force Engineer Adviser Major Maddock said.
The need for the interim health care facility was identified by AusAID, who have continued coordinating the building project with local authorities.
Lieutenant Colonel Lachlan Sinclair, Commanding Officer of the 1st Health Support Battalion (1HSB) and the primary health care team working in the village, says the new facility will be staffed by the town’s displaced medical workers and will remain for the community to use once their regular facility is rebuilt.
“Our operation will eventually wind down and the 1HSB element will return to Australia having completed another successful deployment.”
In the mean time, the primary health care teams are travelling into the outlying villages to conduct health clinics for those who cannot access Seigeringging.
“Most of these people don’t have the time or the money to travel to seek medical aid. Many are too busy trying to rebuild their homes and their health has been a second priority to them,” Lieutenant Colonel Sinclair said.
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