A 55-member SCDF contingent will leave Singapore at 0300hrs tomorrow morning (Wednesday 23 February 2011) for Christchurch, New Zealand to assist in search and rescue operations following the earthquake that occurred on Tuesday 22 February 2011 at 1251 hrs (New Zealand time). The SCDF officers are from the Urban Search and Rescue or USAR contingent (codenamed Operation Lionheart).
The Operations Lionheart Contingent will be sent off by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Law at 0030 hrs on 23 February 2011. The contingent will leave for New Zealand from Paya Lebar Air Base onboard a Republic of Singapore Air Force KC-135 and two C-130 military aircraft.
Led by Ling Kok Yong, Commander of 1st CD Division, the 55-man team comprises experienced officers from SCDF’s elite Disaster Assistance & Rescue Team (DART). The contingent will be equipped with a host of rescue equipment like fibre-optic scopes, life detector systems and hydraulic cutters and spreaders. Four search dogs are also part of this mission. Many members of the contingent have participated in past rescue operations overseas.
Upon arrival at New Zealand, the Lionheart Contingent will coordinate with the local authorities to be deployed in areas where they are assigned or required.
SCDF maintains a rescue contingent on 24-hour standby under the codename Operation Lionheart to provide rescue and humanitarian assistance and support to countries stricken by major disasters. The current mission being undertaken is the 12th such mission. Since its formation in 1990, the Operation Lionheart contingent had responded to 11 overseas missions.
Below is the breakdown of the missions:
• Baguio City earthquake, Philippines - Jul 1990
• Highland Towers collapse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Dec 1993
• Tai Chung County earthquake in Taiwan - Sep 1999
• Asian Tsunami Disaster, Aceh, Indonesia - Dec 2004
• Asian Tsunami Disaster, Khao Lak, Thailand - Dec 2004
• Sumatra Earthquake, Nias Island, Indonesia - Mar 2005
• Rokan Hilir Bush Fires, Sumatra, Indonesia - Aug 2005
• South Asian Earthquake, Muzaffarabad, Pakistan - Oct 2005
• Central Java Earthquake, Indonesia - May 2006
• Sichuan Earthquake, China - May 2008
• Padang City Earthquake, Sumatra, Indonesia - Oct 2009