Seabees Assist USAID in Timor-Leste

Story Number: NNS100518-08Release Date: 5/18/2010 5:10:00 PM
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By Ensign Matthew Lundin, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 Public Affairs

DILI, Timor-Leste (NNS) -- Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 helped clean up U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) offices following a fire in Dili, Timor-Leste, May 13.

A fire broke out May 12 causing damage to a number of USAID offices.

The fire, though localized, did spread into the roofing system causing major damage. Even though many of the offices suffered only minor damage from the smoke, USAID had to vacate the premise and find a new secure location.

NMCB 11 Seabees came to USAID's aid by helping remove much of their vital electronic equipment and salvaging much of their office equipment May 13. Because the roof was severely damaged, the Seabees had to move fast.

They mobilized rapidly and also coordinated assistance from Australians, who are part of the International Stabilization Force (ISF). With help from the ISF, they were able to quickly remove sensitive equipment and transport it to a local warehouse.

The Seabees, with their vast knowledge and skills, also found themselves helping the local United Nations Police with their investigation of the scene.

NMCB 11's Construction Electrician 2nd Class Darius Michael, Construction Electrician 3rd Class Joshua Murphy and Equipment Operator 3rd Class Robert Shuaghnessy took a look and determined that the fire was most likely caused by faulty wiring.

With rain in the forecast, work was nonstop until everything undamaged by the fire was safely out of the building.

"You guys [the Seabees] are life savers" said Peter Cloutier, development director of USAID in Timor-Leste. "We owe you one."

USAID is currently focusing efforts on accelerating economic growth, strengthening democracy and governance and improving the health of the Timorese people.

For more news from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11, visit

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