Solomon Islands Government officials recently visited Australia’s support team in Honiara to better understand how the Australian Government was assisting the island nation’s COVID-19 response.
CAPTION: RAAF pilot Squadron Leader Justin Della Bosca gives Solomon Islands Government officials a tour inside a C-27J Spartan aircraft at Honiara international airport, Solomon Islands. Story by Captain Peter March. Photo by Corporal Jarrod McAneney.
The Solomon Islands Government officials heard from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Medical Assistance Team and Australian Defence Force personnel from Operation Lilia about the support being provided.
A Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster III aircraft arrived at the airport with humanitarian supplies during the visit. It was loaded with part of the 38 tonnes of food and emergency medical supplies recently delivered to the island nation to support its COVID-19 response.
Solomon Islands Minister for Health and Medical Services, Culwick Togamana, acknowledged the support the supplies would provide to Solomon Islands provincial hospitals and area health centres.
“‘It is truly a pleasure to receive these health-preserving and lifesaving COVID-19 supplies during this difficult time when our country is battling the transmission of the virus in our communities,” Dr Togomana said.
“These supplies provided today, such as oxygen concentrators, rapid test kits and personal protective equipment, will greatly enable us to enhance capacity.”
After arriving in Honiara, the humanitarian supplies are delivered to Solomon Islands provinces by two Royal Australian Air Force C-27J Spartan aircraft.
Operation Lilia Task Group Commander Lieutenant Colonel Steve Frankel said Australia’s decades-long commitment to Solomon Islands was helping to build a region that was strategically secure, economically stable and politically sovereign, including during times of unexpected crises.
“Australia and Solomon Islands, particularly our respective military and security forces, have a longstanding and deeply entrenched relationship based on mutual respect, meaningful engagement and close partnership,” Lieutenant Colonel Frankel said.