9 Nov 2005

Regional disaster symposium meets in Honiara

11:11 am on 9 November 2005

Australian military and other government agencies will converge on Honiara this week to improve regional disaster relief planning as part of Exercise Longreach.

The Longreach series of exercises is held annually throughout the Pacific to develop operational planning procedures for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

This will be the first of the series to be held in Solomon Islands

Last year's tsunami tragedy saw organisations from around the world conduct short-notice deployments to affected areas throughout Asia to provide vital humanitarian assistance.

Exercise spokesman, Australian High Commission Defence Adviser, Lieutenant Colonel Ron Baumgart, said training activities such as Longreach were essential to develop joint procedures that would ensure a rapid and effective regional response to any natural disaster.

Disaster Management Director, Mr Loti Yates strongly supports the exercise. Saying Solomon Islands would benefit a great deal from the activities that will take place.

He intends to use the exercise findings to make improvements to the Solomon Islands Disaster Management plan.

The exercise will involve participation by around 40 representatives of the Solomon Islands Government, the Royal Solomon Islands Police, the Australian High Commission, the Australian Defence Force, AusAID and Emergency Management Australia.