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Friday, February 23, 2024
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    Australian Defense Force to Vanuatu

    Hundreds of Australian defence force personnel will arrive in Vanuatu to help with recovery efforts as international assistance flows into the nation following Tropical Cyclones Judy and Kevin.

    The Australian government on Sunday deployed one of its large navy ships, HMAS Canberra, from Sydney to support Vanuatu.

    It will bring more than 600 Australian Defence Force members and carries three Australian Army CH-47 helicopters, landing craft, humanitarian supplies, fresh water and its own hospital facilities.

    Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles said HMAS Canberra could move personnel and equipment to land with landing craft and helicopters.

    “The Australian Defence Force personnel on board bring recent experience from other relief efforts in the region over the past two years and Defence is proud to support a member of the Pacific family,” he said.

    New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta on Sunday announced it was sending humanitarian assistance for Vanuatu.

    A New Zealand C-130 Hercules departed Whenuapai on Sunday morning carrying water containers, kits for temporary shelters, and family hygiene kits.

    New Zealand is also deploying a seven-member team of disaster management experts from its Search and Rescue agency, Defence Force and Foreign Affairs department.

    “Our whānau in Vanuatu are very much in our thoughts,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

    “We have first-hand experience of the challenges that Vanuatu will face in the coming days and weeks, and are watching the situation closely.

    “We will continue to work closely with our partners and respond to the Government of Vanuatu’s requests for assistance where we can.”

    It follows the arrival of aircraft from France and Australia as recovery efforts started on Saturday following Tropical Cyclone Kevin, which destroyed homes and infrastructure throughout Vanuatu.

    France’s Ambassador to Vanuatu, Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer, today said its ship, D’Entrecasteaux, which arrived in Port Vila on Sunday with equipment and personnel, left this morning to bring French, Australian and New Zealand aid to Tanna.

    Two Australian aircraft, a C-130 and C-17, and two French aircraft, a Casa and Falcon, landed at Bauerfield Airport on Sunday, after the runway was cleared of debris from Tropical Cyclone Kevin.

    Australia is deploying the ship after a request from the Government of Vanuatu.

    By Douglas Dingwall.

     

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