andy Van Rossum, Pacific Partnership commander U.S. Navy Capt. Randy Van Rossum, Pacific Partnership 2019 mission commander, rings the ceremonial gong to open Pacific Partnership 2019 in Malaysia on March 30, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nicholas Burgains)

Disaster Response Exercise Pacific Partnership 2019 Begins in Malaysia

Senior mission leadership, host nation and partner nation personnel attended the opening ceremony of the third Pacific Partnership mission stop in Kuching, March 30.

“Pacific Partnership 2019 will continuously strengthen ties and enhance our friendship,” said Lt. Gen. Datuk Suhaimi bin Haji Mohd Zuki, Malaysian Armed Forces joint force commander. “It will have an overwhelming and significant influence in our future relations amongst the participating countries.”

While continuing to strengthen existing bonds, partner nations work together toward a common goal of creating a safer environment.

“The impact of disaster emergencies transcends borders and requires comprehensive preparation and coordination among nations for an effective disaster response,” said Capt. Randy Van Rossum, mission commander for Pacific Partnership 2019. “I am confident that the planning and hard work we’ve invested thus far will show in our successful collaborative efforts for a long-lasting impact here in Kuching.”

U.S., partner nation military members, and non-governmental organization volunteers are scheduled to take part in a variety of events including first aid training, preventive medicine training, various healthcare symposiums, engineering projects, disaster response seminars, and a variety of community outreach engagements with the goal of improving the overall humanitarian and disaster preparedness in Malaysia.

“Malaysia and the United States have a comprehensive partnership, which is building every day on the things that we can do together to make the region safer and to enable our people in a more effective regional crisis response,” said U.S. Embassy Malaysia Deputy Chief of Mission Dean Thompson.

Pacific Partnership began in response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters, the December 2004 tsunami, that devastated parts of South and Southeast Asia. The mission has evolved over the years from emphasis on direct care to an operation focused on enhancing partnerships through host nation subject matter expert and civil-military exchanges.

Working at the invitation of each host nation, Pacific Partnership is joined by partner nations that include Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and the United Kingdom to strengthen disaster response preparedness around the Indo-Pacific region.

Malaysia is one of several host nations for Pacific Partnership 2019. Mission teams have also made stops in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Philippines and will continue with stops in the Federated States of Micronesia, Timor-Leste, Vietnam and Thailand. Experts in the fields of engineering, medicine and disaster response will partner with each host nation to conduct civic-action projects, community health exchanges, medical symposiums, and disaster response training activities.

Pacific Partnership, now in its 14th iteration, is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. Each year, the mission team works collectively with host and partner nations to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase stability and security in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships across the Indo-Pacific.

Read more at U.S. 7th Fleet

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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