On the morning of the 26th of December 2004, an earthquake measuring 9.0 Richter Scale occurred off the west coast of Northern Sumatra. This quake lifted the seafloor by several meters, displacing billions of gallons of seawater and setting off massive waves that raced out toward the west and east. Within hours, the tsunami struck the coasts of twelve countries with a vengeance, bringing suffering, misery and devastation to these places.
The Province of Aceh in the north of Sumatra was hit badly by the Tsunami, some measuring as high as 34.9 m in height. Nearly half of the capital town of Banda Aceh was struck by the waves resulting in death of many living along the coastline. Thousands of survivors were displaced to various locations in and around the town.
SAF medical relief operation was activated on 27 Dec. As part of Ops Flying Eagle (OFE), a medical team was formed and within 2 days of the disaster after the opening of Aceh main airport the advance party was inserted into Banda Aceh. The operation escalated in size and magnitude over the next few days of the disaster. A total of three medical teams were deployed for the mission. It was also the first time for the SAF Medical Corps to have deployed a level 2 medical capability for medical relief mission.
A total of 114 medical personnel comprising regulars, NSmen and NSF from the SAF, volunteers from MOH Health Clusters, SCDF and DSO participated in the operation from 29 Dec to 24 Jan.