Austria's Contribution to Tsunami Relief
Galle/Sri Lanka - In response to the Asian quake disaster the AAF sent an expert team to Sri Lanka. The 77-member "Austrian Forces Disaster Relief Unit" consisted of medical staff, engineers, psychologists and four water purification units.
The unit operated in the area around the provincial capital of Galle, in the south-western part of the island. The Austrian soldiers were tasked with the purification and distribution of drinking water. From 7th January to 1st February 2005 the local population was supplied with a daily volume of 50,000 litres of fresh water.
Additionally, Austrian military doctors gave first aid and medical treatment to victims of the tsunami. Throughout the city and in the surrounding hamlets the unit's engineers cleaned and renewed contaminated wells.
The task force was led by Lieutenant Colonel Reinhard Bacher. Most of the team members were drafted from NBC defence units or from the NBC defence school of the Austrian Armed Forces. Many had experience in the field of international disaster relief.