Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130H Hercules are busy around the South Pacific in the wake of Cyclone Harold – distributing aid and repariating Kiwis.
CAPTION: Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130H Hercules aircraft are transporting vital emergency supplies to Fiji and Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold. NZDF photo.
One flight left for Fiji this morning with another heading to Vanuatu tomorrow, following up a similar flight last weekend, also to Vanuatu.
Both countries were hit hard by category 5 Tropical Cyclone Harold.
Today’s Hercules flight to Nadi, Fiji, is delivering more than 2000 tarpaulins, 94 water containers, five diesel generators, 10 chainsaw packs, satellite phones and 550 packs of hygiene products for families such as soap and sanitary items as part of New Zealand’s support to the relief efforts.
Tomorrow’s flight to Port Vila will deliver 2500 tarpaulins, 150 tool kits, and more than 350 kilograms of hygiene products for families in Vanuatu.
The flight to Vanuatu last weekend delivered water cans, chainsaw kits, agricultural tool kits and some satellite phones – and a privately owned Robinson R66 helicopter to be used in the relief efforts.
To prevent any potential spread of COVID-19, all the cargo is sanitised before loading and again on off-loading.
Air Component Commander Air Commodore Tim Walshe said the New Zealand Defence Force had been working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to deliver the emergency supplies following the category 5 cyclone, which caused extensive damage in the Pacific.
With the ministry’s assistance, people wanting to repatriate to New Zealand from Vanuatu and Fiji have also been able to come to New Zealand on the return flights.
NZDF had a medical team on the aircraft to Fiji today to assist with the repatriation of people to New Zealand and to provide guidance around COVID-19 safety precautions.
Air Commodore Walshe said the NZDF was pleased to be able to provide assistance to Pacific neighbours in their time of need.