TALAUD, Indonesia (June 4, 2012) - Navy SEABEES and Australian Army engineers are working side-by-side with Indonesian military personnel to build a new emergency room in the small Indonesian town of Melonguane.

The care center will give the existing medical clinic the capability to handle more people and a wider variety of injuries.

Australian Army engineering officer Lt. Nigel Hinde said the people of the town are in dire need of the emergency room.

“The nearest hospital is about half an hour away,” he said.

“However, with this new building and their ambulance, they will be better able to respond to the needs of the people.”

Engineering Aid Constructionman Kyle Jeffreys said the month-long project will give the medical center a total of more than 600 feet of extra room for patients.

“They don’t have a lot of space in the existing building, so this will give them the space they need to provide care for people,” Jeffreys said.

Jeffrys added that the people they are providing for come and watch the construction all the time.

“The people are really amazing,” Jeffrys said. “It is easy to see that they appreciate what we are doing.

“They bring us food with a smile on their faces and always make sure we have a place to sit when we eat.

“It is really humbling to be able to help such an amazing group of people.”

Builder 3rd Class Eric Grijalva said the best experience he has had thus far with the project is the opportunity to work with people of a different culture.

“The Australians and Indonesians have taught us a lot while we have been here,” he said.

“We have learned a lot more about construction by working with them, and we have also learned a lot about their different cultures by taking part in this project.”

This project is one of many to be worked on during Pacific Partnership 2012’s visits to the host nations of Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission U.S. military personnel, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies designed to build stronger relationships and develop disaster response capabilities throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

For more information about the PP12 mission, please visit the Pacific Partnership Blog or engage with Pacific Partnership on Facebook and Twitter.