Today starts a long journey to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; where a key 22 country multinational planning workshop takes place next week. It took longer to arrive than the flight that takes me there.
It will take me 22 hours to arrive in Kuala Lumpur. I’m sitting in the Boston airport on a brief layover looking out at an amazingly blue sky as they load the plane and thinking about the steps we take that shape our destiny. After the earthquake in Haiti Humanity Road volunteers worked tirelessly to assist citizens who were reaching out in social media. In the process we tracked and listed hospitals impacted, and field hospitals erected.
Milot was an isolated hospital with beds and no patients. A volunteer named @ManyDrums worked with @Redcrossmom (Chris Thompson) daily to try to connect them with patients. I was at work, when Chris called me to tell me she sent messages to the coast guard and CNN with the coordinates. It was few hours later, she called to let me know she was successful. It was a Coast Guard helicopter that began airlifting patients to Milot hospital.
In times of disaster, the world’s military put on their Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Response hat. The military refers to it as HA/DR response. Communicating in catastrophic conditions with broad and diverse partners can be a huge challenge. This is one of the reasons this workshop is so very important.
In Haiti 2010: Operation Unified Response was the United States military response to Haiti. It included every branch of service, 17 ships, 48 helicopters, 12 fixed wing aircraft and over 17,000 personnel. In the course of service, they conducted over 200 medical airlift evacuations.
In the Philippines 2013: Operation Damayan – The USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group arrived in the Philippines on November 14, and helped expand search and rescue operations, provide medical care, and deliver supplies using its 21 helicopters. Over the approximately three-week span of Operation Damayan, which ended in early December, nearly 300 PACAF airmen logged more than 2,000 flight hours, conducting a total of 239 airlift missions and ferrying more than 2,000 tons of food, water, and medical supplies into the Visayas, according to a PACAF after-action review of the operation.
To learn more about Pacific Command Multinational Communications Interoperability Program