The Singapore Civil Defence Force will be be adding more men to Operation Lionheart, its overseas contingent, to better help disaster-hit countries.
Some enhanced capabilities of the 76-men strong team, instead of the previous 55, will include detection of hazardous materials and quick assessment of needs. The team will also be able to provide more expertise through more operationally-ready National Servicemen, who will number at a maximum of 12, instead of two. They may be civil engineers or specialist doctors in trauma and emergency.
Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee said this on Thursday morning as guest-of-honour at the regional meeting of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group, an umbrella group under the United Nations (UN) that deals with issues on urban search and rescue and disaster response.
The annual event, chaired by Singapore for the second time this year saw representatives from 16 Asia Pacific countries to discuss policy issues. Ambassador Tony Frisch, global chairman of the group said that while globally coordinated efforts are available, it is also important to build up the national capacities of countries that are vulnerable to disasters.