ROXAS CITY, Philippines – The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrived in Roxas City, Philippines, July 18 for the first half of its mission stop in the host nation for Pacific Partnership 2015.
While in Roxas City, medical staff aboard Mercy will perform surgical procedures and will host community health engagements, and also provide direct care in seven locations throughout the province of Capiz. In addition to medical care, PP15 personnel will work and train side-by-side with the community on civic service events, safety topics, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, water search and rescue, veterinarian care, and community outreach projects.
“PP15 is such a wonderful opportunity for our medical teams because they get the chance to work side-by-side with the Philippine medical community. We learn so much from each other and this collaboration strengthens our international partnership and better prepares us to respond to natural disasters throughout the region,” said Capt. Melanie Merrick, the commanding officer of the medical treatment facility on board Mercy.
In addition, the Mercy crew will host partnership events such as a multilateral leadership forum on gender and development, partnered training with Barangay health workers, biomedical repair exchanges, and a disaster risk reduction forum intended to enhance international response to natural disasters.
PP15 participants on the ship and on the ground include personnel from the United States, Australia, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, and New Zealand. The hospital ship arrived with more than 900 personnel, including volunteers from non-governmental organizations. In addition, several PP15 events will be led by the United States Coast Guard. All PP15 personnel will work together with the Philippine government and local community on various medical, dental, veterinary and civic action projects.
Mercy will depart Roxas City Aug. 4, and transit to Subic Bay to continue its mission in the Philippines.
The Mercy crew will be in Subic Bay Aug. 5-14, continuing Pacific Partnership subject matter expert exchange events and community relations projects while the ship undergoes routine maintenance.
“We value the knowledge and best practices we will exchange in the coming weeks and also the friendships we will undoubtedly make,” said Capt. Christopher Engdahl, Pacific Partnership 2015 mission commander. “Preparing for natural disasters before they happen is vital to the stability of the Pacific region. PP15 allows our nations to better prepare now so that we are able to respond and seamlessly integrate during future relief efforts.”
Now in its tenth iteration, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region. While training for crisis conditions, Pacific Partnership missions have provided medical care to approximately 270,000 patients and veterinary services to more than 38,000 animals. Additionally, the mission has provided critical infrastructure developments to host nations through the completion of more than 180 engineering projects.