Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Released by Defence Media Centre

Nine Australian Defence Force engineers deployed on Operation Pakistan Assist II have joined with the Pakistan Military and local national contractors on a project to reopen a local school in Kot Addu.

The engineers spent two days conducting repair and construction work at the Government Boys’ Centre Primary School, which had been damaged by the floods.

Lieutenant Cameron Hawkins, from the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment (2CER), said the engineers linked into the Pakistan Army’s reconstruction efforts in the area to identify which building to work on.

“The school we chose was under 1-1.5 metres of water during the flood, which brought a lot of silt and debris into the buildings. That also affected the foundations, the perimeter wall and the main building,” Lieutenant Hawkins said.

“The Headmaster had an idea of what he hoped to achieve during the reconstruction program, so we worked closely with him to achieve what we could with our resources.”

After clearing the site - removing all the debris and silt - the engineers put in a new concrete floor and repaired the leaking roof to make the building safe for staff and students.

Lieutenant Hawkins said the engineers were proud to get out and make a difference.

“It was a really good experience for the guys, working in a foreign country with the locals and being able to pass on their skills gives a sense of pride to the guys doing the work.”

“To rebuild a school and make it usable so that more kids can go there, obviously helps in the future development of the country.”

Field engineer Sapper Dane Chiswell, from 2CER, said the reconstruction work was a good opportunity for the engineers to learn from each other.

“The school needed a bit of bricklaying done so the boys and I built a brick wall so they could set up a hard standing outside the classroom for the kids.”

Sapper Chiswell said it felt good to help out the local community.

“There is a lot of destruction out there, so to go out and help rebuild a school for the locals is a good feeling.”

The engineers deployed on Operation Pakistan Assist II are a part of the Australian Medical Task Force located in flood affected Punjab region of Pakistan.

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