The Boeing being loaded with equipment at Ohakea Air Force Base today.
24 February 2016
The Government announced today that the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) vessels, HMNZS CANTERBURY and HMNZS WELLINGTON will be dispatched to support relief efforts in Fiji as it recovers from Tropical Cyclone Winston.
HMNZS WELLINGTON is expected to sail from Devonport tomorrow afternoon and HMNZS CANTERBURY on Sunday 28 February.
“Both ships will carry vital aid supplies as well as equipment, and our contributions are all part of our combined inter-agency effort to provide relief and support to Fiji at this difficult time,” said Air Commodore (AIRCDRE) Kevin McEvoy, Acting Commander Joint Forces New Zealand.
“Our personnel are here to help and are keen to get on the ground and assist the Fijian community.”
Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) aircraft are also in the air today in support of Fiji.
A C-130 Hercules departed from Auckland carrying over 16,000 kilograms of aid including shelters, tarpaulins, tools, and generators. It will arrive at Suva Airport at around 4.10pm local time where the aid will be unloaded.
A Boeing 757 departed from Ohakea Air Force Base carrying 35 New Zealand Army engineers including plumbers, electricians, and field engineers will start work alongside soldiers from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces clearing debris and repairing buildings. The Boeing will arrive this evening.
Major (MAJ) Chris Wilson, who is in charge of the Army engineering team, said training exercises such as Tropic Twilight and the recently completed Southern Katipo 2015 meant his team were well-versed in sending small platoon-sized units into these situations.
“From a personal perspective, I can’t wait to get there. It is incredibly rewarding to be able to provide this level of support in a situation like this,” said MAJ Wilson.
HMNZS CANTERBURY, a sealift and amphibious support ship, has an extensive range of capabilities including the ability to land personnel, vehicles and cargo by landing craft, helicopter or ramps, as well as conventional port infrastructure.
A media advisory will be issued tomorrow inviting media to capture imagery of the HMNZS CANTERBURY loading aid, supplies, and equipment.
For further information, please contact Defence Public Affairs on 021 487 980