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Disaster Relief Operations For Asia-Pacific

Press Release – New Zealand Defence Force

Representatives from nations throughout the Asia-Pacific region have been meeting in Wellington to discuss multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. The talks are part of the 2009 Pacific Rim Airpower Symposium, co-hosted …

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa
Media Release
25 June 2009

Disaster Relief Operations Discussed At Asia-Pacific Conference

Representatives from nations throughout the Asia-Pacific region have been meeting in Wellington to discuss multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

The talks are part of the 2009 Pacific Rim Airpower Symposium, co-hosted this year by the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the United States Air Force. The annual symposium encourages relationship building and enhances cooperation among the air forces of Asia-Pacific nations.

This year’s symposium theme, “Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations—Managing the Seams,” aims to help participants better understand the varying approaches to disaster response by civilian and military agencies, different nations, and the military branches.

Air Commodore Gavin Howse, Air Component Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said the symposium’s theme is fitting given the high propensity for natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific region

“Air forces can play a significant role in managing disaster responses, but we as nations cannot work in isolation,” Air Commodore Howse said. “This year’s theme will enable us all to improve our interoperability and better manage our collective crisis response.”

Lt. Gen. Chip Utterback, 13th Air Force Commander, is leading the U.S. delegation to New Zealand. He and Air Commodore Howse are joined by senior officers from 17 other nations in the Asia-Pacific region. Thirteenth AF at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, headed up the U.S. planning and execution of the event.

“The language of airpower is universal—it just has different accents,” General Utterback said. “What we want to do during this symposium is refine those accents so that we understand the best that each of us brings, and so we can help those in need after a disaster has struck. That’s what our job as military members is all about.”

Additionally, the Senior Enlisted Leadership Conference, the largest air force multi-national enlisted conference, also being held in Wellington in conjunction with the PACRIM Airpower Symposium. RNZAF Warrant Officer Keith Gell, Warrant Officer of the Air Force, and Chief Master Sgt. Harry Veil, 7th Air Force Command Chief Master Sergeant at Osan Air Base, South Korea, are leading the conference.

Delegations from Australia, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United States and Vietnam are participating.

The 2009 symposium theme is a continuation of last year’s, which focused on the early phases of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. The 2008 symposium and senior enlisted conference were co-hosted by the Royal Malaysian Air Force and U.S. Air Force in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

ENDS

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