Following the 6.2 Richter scale earthquake on 27 May 2006 which struck the Indonesian island of Java, SCDF deployed its 43-member Operation Lion Heart Contingent on 28 May 2006 to assist in search and rescue operations in Bantul, 40 km south of Yogyakarta in Central Java. Led by MAJ Anwar Abdullah, Commander of the 2nd Civil Defence Division, the contingent included members of the SCDF elite Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART), medical personnel, as well as 3 search dogs.
During its 10-day deployment, the search and rescue contingent worked closely with the SAF, the Indonesian military (TNI) as well as the UN On-Site Operations Command Centre. This included a 2-hour recovery operation of a male body at Gunung Kidual on 31 May found pinned under a 10-ton boulder measuring about 6m in length. Members of the DART and local rescuers had to track down a steep hill for about 15 minutes before reaching the victim. A 10-ton hydraulic jack, telescopic ramp and a spreader and cutter set were used to free the body.
On 31 May, another 11-member SCDF medical team comprising 1 doctor and 10 paramedics arrived at Yogyakarta to augment the SAF medical team’s efforts to boost humanitarian and medical assistance for victims of the Central Java quake. During the 8-day relief operations, the medical personnel operated from the Bantul Hospital, the TNI field hospital in Plered, and in mobile medical teams formed by the TNI, SAF and SCDF to assist quake victims.
In total, more than 500 casualties were treated by the SCDF contingent during their operations in Yogyakarta. The main SCDF Operation Lion Heart contingent returned from Central Java on Monday, 5 June 2006 while the 11-member medical team returned to Singapore on 7 June 2006.
SCDF also sent 2 info-communications specialists to Central Java under the Asia-Pacific Humanitarian Partnership programme. Their main function was to set up and maintain critical communications capabilities at the UN Reception Center based at Yogyakarta Adi Sutjipto Airport to facilitate the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination’s overall liason and coordination of relief efforts. The 2 officers returned to Singapore on 7 June 2006.