The South African and German navies have held a Disaster Exercise (DISTEX) in order to prepare for the rendering of humanitarian assistance at short notice.
The exercise was held at SAS Simonsberg, Simon’s Town Naval Base yesterday when the SA Navy Operational Sea Training Team (OSTT) and the German Naval Sea Training Team (SAGA) simulated an exercise where the SA Navy had to render humanitarian and evacuation assistance to a small coastal community that has been hit by a militant guerrilla attack.
For the DISTEX, it was assumed that the South African frigate SAS Spioenkop was conducting a regular patrol along the African coast when she was recalled to assist with a United Nation’s request to aid the “grief stricken community”. The frigate anchored a few kilometres offshore and small boats were used by an Advanced Scouting Team to secure a landing and operating site ashore.
The Maritime Reaction Squadron secured a designated area to be utilised as the headquarters and signalled the ships company that it was safe to land. According to the Navy, “the medical team’s priority was achieved by identifying the injured, isolating the deceased and evacuating them, carefully prioritising South African citizens.”
As part of the exercise, the ships company immediately identified a Media Liaison Officer to interact with the ‘persisting local and international media’. Food and fresh water was served to the community and a chaplain interacted with all affected parties to render services and assist families of the deceased and injured.
A statement from the Navy said that “the only message that anyone could get was that the South African Navy’s priority in this scenario was to save lives, stabilise and secure the area and evacuate as many people as possible.”