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NZDF at its best in supporting Christchurch

NZDF at its best in supporting Christchurch

The New Zealand Defence Force is performing at its very best in supporting the people of Christchurch, Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says.

Dr Mapp visited NZDF personnel at work throughout the area today with Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones, and met Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker in the suburb of Sydenham. The visit was the Minister's third to Christchurch in the past week.

"One of the Defence Force's principal tasks is its role in the Government's response to disasters such as this," he said. "They are doing a first-class job here.

"There has been a wide variety of requests from Civil Defence and Police since the earthquake struck. Units and personnel of all three services have delivered quickly and efficiently on every one," he said.

"In addition, as the situation evolved, the Defence Force has identified opportunities to front-foot its support and has been able to offer some forms of help even before a request was received.

"As of today, almost 1700 personnel are deployed in the Christchurch region Their key activities include air transport, providing security, and general logistic support.

"HMNZS Canterbury is in Wellington loading more supplies including heavy machinery and will return to Lyttelton overnight. HMNZS Otago continues to provide civil defence support to Lyttelton, assisted by Reservists from HMNZS Pegasus, the Christchurch Reserve unit.

"The RNZAF has evacuated 4,271 people from Christchurch since the earthquake, and are still providing air transport between Christchurch and other centres."

Today Dr Mapp visited troops on duty in the CBD, HMNZS Otago in Lyttelton and units at Burnham Military Camp, who have the difficult and demanding task of supporting the victim identification teams at the mortuary there.

He returned to Wellington this afternoon.

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