11 October 2018
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) expects its aid deliveries to the quake-damaged Indonesian city of Palu to reach about 70 tonnes when it finishes its week-long humanitarian aid mission today.
Flight Lieutenant Dave Natapu, aircraft captain from the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s No.40 Squadron, said an Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft had been sent today to deliver more international aid on its last return flight to Palu.
The Hercules and a 15-member detachment have formed part of a multinational air bridge to Palu since they arrived with 8.2 tonnes of aid from New Zealand on 4 October.
By Wednesday they had evacuated 120 survivors, transported about 60 tonnes of aid and flown about 80 rescue personnel and officials.
“The entire team is pleased to have contributed to the Indonesian Government’s relief effort,” Flight Lieutenant Natapu said.
“Together with our international partners, we are glad that we we’ve been here for the people of Palu in their time of need.”
Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said in Indonesia, the NZDF had shown once again that it always stood ready to help its neighbours during critical times.
The NZDF was among the first foreign militaries to arrive in Balikpapan, a port city in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province used as the staging point for international aid flights to help the Indonesian Government’s relief efforts, Major General Gall said.
“The work of our personnel in Indonesia should make every New Zealander proud,” he said.
“The goodwill displayed by the Indonesian authorities and the survivors has been the best reward for their efforts.”
The official death toll from last month’s earthquake and tsunami has risen to 2010, with about 11,000 others injured.