Australian Government deploys medical task force to Pakistan

Australia is deploying medical teams to Pakistan on Monday, 23 August from RAAF Base Amberley, to provide health services to communities affected by the unprecedented floods. This deployment builds on the $35 million worth of assistance Australia has already provided.

This joint operation between AusAID and the Australian Defence Force will contribute to the Pakistan Government and international community’s efforts to help address growing health concerns in Pakistan including outbreaks of water borne diseases.

The Medical Task Force, called the Joint Inter-Agency Medical Task Force (JIAMTF) will establish a medical facility near Kot Addu, in the vicinity of Multan, in the Muzaffar Garh District of the Punjab Province.

The medical teams will comprise Defence and civilians, including doctors, nurses, paramedics and support personnel, drawn from state health agencies and are being coordinated by the Australian Government through Emergency Management Australia.

“Australia is a good friend of Pakistan and we stand ready to provide whatever assistance we can. The medical teams will provide essential and immediate primary health care to treat people in central Pakistan and help prevent the spread of disease,” said the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Stephen Smith.

In-conjunction with AusAID, Defence is providing its strategic airlift aircraft, the C-17 Globemaster, to move the contingent from Brisbane to Multan International Airfield.

The Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner said the JIAMTF was prepared to operate for an extended period in Pakistan but would maintain close links with the Government of Pakistan to ensure it was providing support for only as long as required.

“Our people will be operating under challenging conditions. The Task Force will apply a range of preventive and force protection measures so they can complete their mission safely.”

“Australia is currently focused on the immediate needs of the Pakistani people, but we will also assist with the recovery and reconstruction task,” Mr Smith said.

The Minister for Defence, Senator Faulkner, has sought and received the agreement of his Opposition counterpart Senator Johnston on the commitment of Australian Defence Force assets to the relief efforts in Pakistan.

Media contacts:>
Colin Campbell (John Faulkner): 02 6277 7800 or 0407 787 181>
Defence Media Liaison: 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

Press release
Ministerial Support and Public Affairs,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, Australia

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