HMNZS Canterbury has embarked about 150 refugees so far today from earthquake-stricken Kaikoura.
16 November 2016
The New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) disaster relief operation has maintained its high tempo with the arrival of amphibious sealift ship HMNZS Canterbury and offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington in Kaikoura this morning.
Air Commodore (AIRCDRE) Darryn Webb, the Acting Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said Canterbury was helping in the ongoing evacuation of residents and tourists from the quake-damaged coastal town. About 150 people have embarked the ship since the evacuation began this morning.
“Our immediate priority is to evacuate as many displaced people as possible from Kaikoura. This will continue today using our NH90 helicopters and, following a successful seabed survey by Wellington, Canterbury and other significant maritime capabilities we now have in the region.”
AIRCDRE Webb said the NZDF has mobilised additional aircraft, vessels and personnel to support the Government’s earthquake response. The additional assets include the frigate HMNZS Te Kaha and replenishment tanker HMNZS Endeavour, which sailed overnight from Auckland and are expected to arrive in Kaikoura on Thursday.
“We have been working with the Ministry of Civil Defence in ensuring emergency needs in the affected communities are met promptly, and we are ready to provide additional support as required,” AIRCDRE Webb said.
A Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft transported a generator and a water purification system earmarked for Kaikoura from Linton this morning. It will airdrop about 5000 litres of water to Kaikoura residents later this afternoon. Monday’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake disrupted power and water supplies in Kaikoura and cut off land access to the town.
Four NH90 helicopters from the Air Force’s 3 Squadron rescued 200 people and delivered 1.3 tonnes of water, 300kg of food and jerrycans of diesel to Kaikoura on Tuesday. The helicopters continued to deliver essential supplies and rescued about 60 stranded residents and tourists from Kaikoura this morning.
The NZDF has mobilised about 500 personnel, at least 11 aircraft and four vessels to support the Government’s earthquake response.
The NZDF forces currently at Kaikoura will be joined over the next 24 hours by Australian, Canadian and United States warships with their embarked helicopters. The helicopters will be able to be used for a variety of tasks including personnel and stores transfer, and conducting critical needs assessment of isolated communities. In total, the ships that are yet to arrive are carrying four helicopters, which will be added to the existing NZDF helicopters operating from land and sea.
Surveillance aircraft from Japan and the United States have also been made available to conduct aerial reconnaissance of quake-damaged areas.