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Airforce relief flight heads for Asia

Airforce relief flight heads for Asia

An RNZAF C130 is being despatched immediately to help with relief efforts in the wake of the tsunami that has devastated south-east and southern Asia, Foreign Minister Phil Goff and Defence Minister Mark Burton announced today.

The C130 will initially join four Australian airforce planes in Darwin and from there participate in regional disaster relief efforts as required.

“The magnitude of the tsunami disaster is appalling. We are all thinking of our neighbours at this time, and what we can do to help,” Mr Goff said.

“I announced yesterday an initial government donation of $500,000 for relief efforts, which will go to the International Red Cross via New Zealand Red Cross. We are also looking at what further contributions we might make as needs are identified."

Mr Burton said New Zealand would work closely with Australia on this deployment.

“The RNZAF C130 being sent to the region at midday today will be picking up relief supplies and equipment.

“Further tasking for the aircraft will be determined in consultation with local authorities,” Mr Burton said.

Mr Goff said Foreign Affairs officials here and in Asia were continuing their efforts to contact New Zealanders in the affected areas.

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