SINGAPORE - In a first, three dogs from the Singapore Police Force K-9 Unit have been deployed on an overseas mission to help in disaster relief efforts in Laos.
The three victim recovery dogs left Paya Lebar Airbase with a 32-member Home Team contingent on Monday morning (Aug 13).
The team comprises 14 police officers and 18 Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers, said the agencies in a joint statement.
They left on a Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130 transport aircraft and are due to arrive in Attapeu province in Laos.
The province was devastated after the partially-built Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy hydropower dam collapsed on July 23, causing severe floods in the area.
At least 27 people died, with hundreds more missing and another 6,600 people displaced.
Led by Superintendent Mohamad Sofian Salleh, the police will offer assistance in victim recovery efforts, together with the K-9 dogs.
This is the first time that police K-9 dogs are being deployed for an overseas mission, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the SCDF officers will be led by Captain Kannan Selvaraj.
The officers will replace the current 17-member SCDF team which has been carrying out disaster relief efforts in the Attapeu province since Aug 4.
Home Affairs permanent secretary Pang Kin Keong met the Home Team contingent before their departure.
In a Facebook post at about 2.30pm, the police said that the Home Team contingent have touched down safely at Pakse International Airport.
The officers were received by Singapore’s ambassador to Laos, Mr Dominic Goh.
The contingent, with their equipment and supplies, are making their way to Attapeu province, the post wrote, adding that "everyone is ready to serve in this overseas mission".
In a Facebook post at 7.17pm, SCDF said that 14 of the 17 members of the contingent who had been deployed since Aug 4 had returned to Singapore.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin received them at Paya Lebar Air Base.
The other members would remain in Laos for several more days to hand over operations to the incoming contingent, SCDF said.