Australia supports Vanuatu after tropical cyclones


HMAS Canberra deployed to Vanuatu on March 5 to provide support to the country following Tropical Cyclones Judy and Kevin.

The ship, with more than 600 ADF personnel on board, was loaded with equipment and stores to support the whole-of-government response to the cyclones, at the request of the Vanuatu Government.

The deployment follows two Air Force aircraft, which have already reached the Vanuatu capital of Port Vila.

A C-17A Globemaster delivered a 12-person rapid assessment team and Australia’s initial humanitarian assistance, which includes shelters, water purification supplies and other essential items for impacted communities.

Defence Minister Richard Marles said HMAS Canberra had a significant capacity to provide ship-to-shore connections via its landing craft and three embarked Army CH-47 helicopters, and had fresh water and its own hospital facilities.

“The ADF 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,” Mr Marles said.

The rapid assessment team, which includes officers from federal, state and territory partners with a range of disaster, health, infrastructure, power and humanitarian assessment capabilities, will survey the impact of the cyclones.

Air Force aircraft will also assist the Vanuatu Government with aerial damage assessments.

The Australian Government is working closely with partners, including France and New Zealand, in the support effort.

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said Australia’s close partnership with Vanuatu enabled the rapid mobilisation of assistance.

“With HMAS Canberra, we are providing more humanitarian supplies and much needed logistical support. This shows our continued commitment to the Pacific family,” Ms Wong said.

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