Background Information on SCDF Operation Lionheart Contingent
SCDF maintains a search and rescue contingent on a 24-hour standby under the codename Operation Lionheart to provide humanitarian assistance and support to countries affected by natural disasters. Since its formation in 1990, the Operation Lionheart contingent has responded to 17 overseas missions. The deployment to Laos is the 18th overseas mission.
1. SCDF Deploys Operation Lionheart Contingent to Laos (3rd Aug 2018)
Update 1 on 3/8/18
Led by Major Seloterio Euan Izmal, the 17-member team comprises officers from SCDF’s elite Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) and fire and rescue specialists. They will be supported by two operations officers, a paramedic and a technical support officer.
The SCDF contingent will focus on search and rescue operations in Attapeu Province. To support the contingent’s operations, SCDF will deploy utility vehicles, a 6-seater inflatable dinghy and specialised search and rescue tools.
The SCDF contingent was sent off by Ms Sun Xueling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development.
Update 2 on 3/8/18
The SCDF contingent arrived safely at Pakse International Airport at about 11am this morning. They were received by Singapore’s Ambassador to Laos, Mr Dominic Goh, and Laos Government representatives.
Equipment and supplies were immediately offloaded from the two RSAF C-130 transport aircraft as the contingent made preparations for the journey to Attapeu Province.
SCDF has brought along a DART Recce Vehicle and a utility vehicle, and has also secured local transportation to support its operations.
Update on 4/8/18
Late yesterday, the SCDF Operation Lionheart contingent travelled from Pakse to Sanamxay District, Attapeu Province, to link up with the local authorities who are managing the disaster relief efforts.
This morning, a forward deployment team led by Contingent Commander Major Euan embarked on a recce mission to one of the most affected districts. Together with Laos officials, they assessed the area of operations in preparation for complex search operations.
Update on 5/8/18
The recce mission led by MAJ Euan yesterday revealed the extent of damages to the infrastructure and terrain in Ban Mai village, one of the worse affected areas. SCDF will conduct search operations within this area.
The SCDF contingent had also set up a base camp in the village for accommodation and storage of equipment and supplies.
Update on 6/8/18
Yesterday morning, SCDF Operations Lionheart team had conducted search operations at Ban Mai village, one of the worst affected areas. The team travelled on foot to reach a particular site where remains of fallen houses and debris had been swept away by the flood waters. It took approximately 2 hours to reach the site as the team faced challenges such as terrain that was waist deep in mud.
The team dug through the mud and debris, including dismantling the remains of wooden houses using cutting tools to locate any human remains.
Update on 7/8/18
Since two days ago, the SCDF Operations Lionheart team set up its base camp at Ban Mai village, near its area of operations. The base camp is situated on the grounds of a former school which was swept away by the flood waters.
The base camp acts as a command centre for the SCDF team where they plan and strategise the operations every day. It comprises charts containing information on the search operations as well as a movement chart to track the deployment of each team member. Equipment and supplies are also stored within the base camp.
Update 1 on 13/8/18
This morning, a 32-member Home Team contingent comprising 14 officers from the Singapore Police Force (SPF), 3 victim recovery dogs from the SPF K9 Unit, and 18 SCDF officers, departed for Laos on a Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130 transport aircraft from Paya Lebar Air Base.
The SCDF officers, led by CPT Kannan Selvaraj, will replace the current 17-member SCDF team which has been carrying out disaster relief efforts in Attapeu Province since 4 August.
Update 2 on 13/8/18
14 members of the 17-member SCDF contingent which was deployed to Laos to carry out disaster relief efforts in Attapeu Province since 4 August returned to Singapore this afternoon. They were received at Paya Lebar Air Base by Mr Amrin Amin, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health.
Contingent Commander, MAJ Euan, Operations Officer MAJ Eng Wee Hock and Rescue Platoon Section Commander WO Md Fayrus will be staying back in Laos for several more days to hand over operations to the incoming contingent.
Update on 15/8/18
Yesterday, a forward team from the Home Team Contingent arrived at Ban Mai village to meet General Phalom Linthong, Deputy Director General of the Laos People’s Army, who leads the local search efforts.
The team later surveyed a new area of operations at Ban Samong-Tai village located opposite the river from Ban Mai village which is only accessible via boat.
Search operations in Ban Samong-Tai village will commence today.
Update on 16/8/18
Contingent Commander, MAJ Seloterio Euan Izmal, Operations Officer MAJ Eng Wee Hock and Rescue Platoon Section Commander Md Fayrus bin Abdul Rasit, from the first SCDF Ops Lionheart contingent deployed to Laos have returned home this evening.
While the rest of the first contingent members had departed for Singapore on 13 August, these three officers had stayed in Laos for three additional days.
Their additional time spent in Laos was crucial in getting the new incoming Home Team contingent to settle in by introducing the latter to the local authorities and in ensuring a smooth handover of the ongoing search operation.
The incoming 32-member Home Team contingent will continue the with the disaster relief efforts of the SCDF in Attapeu Province since 4 August.
Update on 19/8/18
Sanamxay district, Attapeu, is the location of several camps temporarily housing displaced persons affected by the flash floods following the collapse of Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy dam.
The Home Team contingent had set up a field medical center near these camps, where SCDF Full-time National Serviceman CPT (Dr) Tan Yuan Zi and Paramedic SSG Ian Ang, assisted by SCDF rescuers, are providing medical treatment and medicine to the disaster victims. Dr Tan also provided medical consultation in the nearby Sanamxay hospital.
Last Update on 25/08/2018
The 32-member Home Team contingent, comprising 18 SCDF officers, 14 officers from the Singapore Police Force (SPF), and three victim recovery dogs from the SPF K9 Unit, returned home this evening.
They were received at Paya Lebar Air Base by Mr Amrin Amin, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health.
Over the course of the deployment, the contingent continued with relief efforts as well as provided medical treatment in the Sanamxay district, Attapeu.
Welcome home, gentlemen!