Truck convoy braves dangerous roads for quake aid

santa_point2The New Zealand Defence Force, supported by its international partners, pulled out all the stops today, delivering supplies to Kaikoura by sea and air and even land in a concerted effort to stave off a shortage of food, water and other basic necessities in the quake-damaged town.

CAPTION: Part of a convoy of 27 New Zealand Defence Force trucks braved bad weather and risks of further landslides to bring much-needed fuel and water supplies to quake-damaged Kaikoura this afternoon. NZDF photo.

The convoy of 27 New Zealand Defence Force trucks braved bad weather and risks of further landslides to bring much-needed fuel and water supplies to quake-damaged Kaikoura this afternoon.

Major General (MAJGEN) Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said fuel supplies in Kaikoura had been running low for days, and with debris blocking off the main route to the town, a resupply was very dangerous.

“So this is fantastic news for the community that our trucks finally got through,” Major General Gall said.

“The convoy ferried 7320 litres of diesel and 1540 litres of petrol for Kaikoura’s petrol stations and emergency services.

“It also brought 10,000 litres of potable water – plus nine Army chefs who will cater for the 250 patients at Kaikoura Hospital.”

MAJGEN Gall said five of the Defence Force trucks would go to Culverden in North Canterbury tomorrow to get further supplies. The rest will remain in Kaikoura to distribute drinking water and other aid supplies brought today by amphibious sealift vessel HMNZS Canterbury.

One of 27 NZDF trucks that travelled to Kaikoura today. NZDF photo.
One of 27 NZDF trucks that made the trip to Kaikoura today.

“Up to 16 more Defence Force trucks will be dispatched from Burnham Military Camp on Saturday morning to pick up food and other aid supplies for Kaikoura,” he said.

“We are using our maritime, land and air assets to achieve our immediate priority, which is to deliver essential supplies to affected communities.

“The ships, crews and maritime helicopters provided by our partner-militaries have also been a big boost to our disaster relief operation.”

Four maritime helicopters provided by Australia, Canada and the United States were helping offload about 216 tonnes of supplies from the amphibious sealift vessel HMNZS Canterbury, which had returned to Kaikoura, he said.

Commander Simon Rooke, the Commanding Officer of Canterbury, said the ship’s Seasprite helicopter was working with the Seahawks and Sea King choppers from Australia, Canada and the US to ferry the aid supplies ashore in underslung loads

“We hope that the support being provided by the NZDF and our international partners is bolstering the spirits of the people of Kaikoura. We are ready to provide further support as required,” Commander Rooke said.

The aid delivery included 130 tonnes of food, 28 tonnes of fruit and vegetables, 60 tonnes of rice, pasta and flour, 80 portable toilets, 500kg of toilet paper, four generators, two portable pumps and 100 tonnes of pet food.

Further evacuations were conducted today by the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s NH90 helicopters and HMNZS Canterbury following requests from at least 160 Kaikoura residents. Once completed, the latest evacuations will bring to about 860 the total number of people rescued.

“We started evacuating people early this afternoon, using our Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats,” said Commander Simon Rooke, the Commanding Officer of Canterbury.

He said the evacuees would remain on board overnight as the 216 tonnes of aid supplies brought from Lyttelton were still being offloaded.

Four maritime helicopters provided by Australia, Canada and the United States were working with Canterbury’s Seasprite helicopter to offload the aid supplies in underslung loads.

The NZDF has mobilised about 560 personnel, at least 11 aircraft and four ships to support the Government’s earthquake response.



Fast facts: NZDF and foreign support for the Government’s earthquake response 


  • NH90 medium utility helicopters – X4
  • A109 helicopter – X2
  • SH-2G(I) Seasprite helicopter – X2
  • C-130 Hercules – X1
  • P-3K2 Orion surveillance aircraft – X1
  • B200 King Air – X1


  • Amphibious sealift vessel HMNZS CANTERBURY
  • Offshore patrol vessel HMNZS WELLINGTON
  • Frigate HMNZS TE KAHA
  • Replenishment tanker HMNZS ENDEAVOUR

Foreign assistance

  • Australian frigate HMAS DARWIN + 1 S70B Seahawk helicopter + 177 sailors
  • Canadian frigate HMCS VANCOUVER + 1 CH-124 Sea King helicopter + 231 sailors
  • US destroyer USS SAMPSON + 2X MH60 Seahawk helicopters + 250 sailors
  • US Navy P-3 aerial surveillance aircraft
  • Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force P-1 aerial surveillance aircraft

NZDF personnel

  • Navy – about 410 sailors
  • Army – about 30 soldiers
  • Air Force – about 50 aircrew and some 200 support personnel on the ground at bases in Whenuapai, Ohakea, Woodbourne and Christchurch

EvacuationAbout 700 people (with four dogs and seven tonnes of baggage)

Aid supplies delivered by RNZAF NH90 helicopters: About 20,000kg

Aid supplies delivered by HMNZS CANTERBURY13,000kg of food, 2,780kg of fruits and vegetables, 200kg of potatoes, 350kg of bread, 6000kg of rice, pasta and flour, 300kg of blankets, 500kg of telecommunications equipment, four tonnes of medical supplies, 10,000kg of pet food, 80 portable toilets, 500kg of toilet paper, 30 10-litre cans of fuel, two portable pumps and four generators .












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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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