MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand Defence Force – RNZAF personnel load the C-130 Hercules bound for Vanuatu
15 March 2015
A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) C-130 Hercules from 40 Squadron at RNZAF Base Auckland has arrived in Vanuatu with a first consignment of aid for the stricken country in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Pam.
The consignment included first aids kits, tarpaulins for emergency shelter, water containers, chainsaw packs and generators. Specialist personnel from New Zealand Government agencies and the New Zealand Red Cross were also aboard the Hercules, to assist in providing advice to the High Commission and to help carry out a needs assessment which will shape further assistance.
Head of Air Force operations Air Commodore Kevin McEvoy said that the Air Force is well trained and equipped for such missions.
“Pacific nations such as Vanuatu are our friends and neighbours and we’re happy we can help at times of need. The C-130 Hercules is an ideal platform for operating into areas that may not be accessible to commercial aircraft. With the main airport being closed to civilian transport, a Hercules load makes a real difference in situations like this.
“The work we do with other agencies in exercises and training pays off at times like these, getting equipment and personnel to where they are most needed as quickly as possible, and the whole-of-government planning has gone well,” he said.
“Aerial reconnaissance is another unique capability we provide at times like this and an RNZAF P-3K2 Orion has returned home today after providing reconnaissance support at the request of the Tuvaluan Government to assist with their disaster needs assessment. The aircraft was already in the Pacific Islands after successfully locating a vessel in distress and assisting with its rescue off Tonga on Friday.”