News: NMCB 3 Timor-Leste CCAD, F-FDTL Engineers Team Up, Prevent School Bathroom from Collapsing
Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Fahey
DILI, Timor-Leste - Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3’s Construction Civic Action Detail (CCAD) in Timor-Leste teamed up with engineers from the Timor-Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL), Nov. 21 – Dec. 5, to prevent the Cameia Rai Hun Primary School’s outside restroom facility from tumbling down a 10-foot drop.
Due to years of severe rain and tropical storms, erosion caused the ground around the school’s only restroom facility to reach a critical point of impending collapse.
Using Gabion baskets – four-foot high rectangular metal-framed cages filled with hand-stacked rocks staggered three tiers down the eroded hillside – the team was able to hold the reaming earth in place.
“The upcoming rainy season definitely looked as though it would have brought the entire thing down,” said Navy Seabee Builder 3rd Class Morgan Rego, the project’s crew leader.
Gabion baskets can conform to ground movement, dissipate energy from flowing water and drain freely. As different types of vegetation and silt fill the interstitial voids, the structure becomes stronger, more reinforced and more effective. Although not a permanent fix, some Gabion baskets can last up to 60 years, providing a great deal more security to the poor, remote Cameia community and the school’s 400 students.
“The people here are very happy to have better protection from the heavy water,” said F-FDTL 2nd Lt. Paulino Correia Da Costa.
The school sets in a small inlet that catches most of the rain wash from the nearby mountain. Its location is in the middle of a high traffic area transited by hundreds of local families and children as they walk barefoot to the nearby marketplace. Had the restroom fallen, it would have landed directly in the middle of this route, tearing out the existing plumbing and septic system. The resulting damage would have forced the community to relocate the entire school, since the erosion had eliminated any room to rebuild. With no money, the community would have had no options and no safe, functional school house for their children to receive an education.
“The locals cared about this school and helped by giving us free materials for us to fill the baskets,” said Navy Seabee Equipment Operator 2nd Class Dominic Defelice. “Helping them ensure a safe future for their children gave me an awesome feeling.”
NMCB 3 is a vital component of the U.S. Maritime Strategy, providing details deployed to Okinawa, Atsugi and Yokosuka, Japan; Chinhae, Republic of Korea; China Lake and San Clemente Island, Calif; Timor-Leste, Tonga, Cambodia and the Republic of the Philippines each independently capable of providing disaster preparation and recovery support, humanitarian assistance and combat operations support.
This work, NMCB 3 Timor-Leste CCAD, F-FDTL Engineers Team Up, Prevent School Bathroom from Collapsing, by PO1 Chris Fahey, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.