Australian Defence Force aircraft and personnel have completed their humanitarian assistance mission in Papua New Guinea following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake and a series of severe aftershocks that affected the country’s remote Highland areas.
CAPTION: An Australian Army CH-47F Chinook helicopter returns to Mount Hagen Airport during Operation PNG Assist 2018. Photo by Corporal Oliver Carter.
In response to a request from the PNG government, Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules, C-17A Globemaster, B300 King Air and three Australian Army CH-47F Chinook helicopters and crews distributed emergency supplies to those affected by the disaster throughout PNG.
Additional command, communications and logistic elements were drawn from Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force units around Australia.
Minister for Defence Marise Payne said ADF personnel and aircraft supported the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief effort to deliver aid to some of the most remote villages of PNG.
“Our ADF personnel facilitated the delivery of Australian Aid to some of the worst affected southern and western highlands villages,” Minister Payne said.
“Our aircraft helped PNG officials, the United Nations and other partners deliver 547 tonnes of critical humanitarian supplies including medical kits, tarpaulins and bed mats.
“Australia is always ready to assist our neighbours with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
“While the ADF effort is now over, we will continue to work closely with PNG authorities should they require additional support.”
Up to 270,000 people were affected by the earthquake and aftershocks, which first struck PNG on 26 February 2018.
Operation PNG Assist 18 was the ADF contribution to the DFAT-led, whole-of-Australian government response to the earthquake.