Defence commences disaster relief efforts

The Australian Defence Force has commenced operations from RAAF Bases Amberley and Richmond to Port Vila.

Two Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster III aircraft will deliver critical humanitarian aid and disaster relief supplies, including hygiene kits, blankets, sleeping mats, shelter kits, insect nets, water storage buckets and water purification tablets on behalf of the Australian Government.

These humanitarian aid flights are expected to continue for several days.

A RAAF C-130J Hercules aircraft will also transport Defence emergency evaluation personnel and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) officials to Port Villa to gather valuable information that will guide the types and priority of Australian Government aid to Vanuatu.

A RAAF AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft is positioned in Honiara, Solomon Islands, and has undertaken imagery reconnaissance flights of Solomon Islands’ Temotu and Malaita Provinces. Another AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft will depart Australia today and undertake the same tasks in northern Vanuatu now that the weather is abating.

I am assured by Defence that our contribution to the DFAT-led mission is positioned to expand as the situation in Vanuatu becomes clearer.

Nationally, Defence assets remain on standby to provide further assistance, however the immediate priority is to move life-saving aid to Vanuatu and to assist their officials to understand what specialist capabilities are needed and who is best placed to provide those assets and materials.

Our thoughts remain with those who are affected by these natural disasters, including those here in Australia.

The ADF also continues to liaise with Queensland and Western Australian emergency services. Several Pilbara Regiment personnel have assisted local authorities at Carnarvon and the ADF stands ready to provide further assistance as required.