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Navy ship delivers humanitarian aid

Friday May 13, 2005

Navy ship delivers humanitarian aid to cyclone hit island

Ordinary Chef Michelle Bradley (Palmerston North), Leading Steward Nicola Irivine (Whangarei) and Leading Medic Simon Baker-Clemas (Wellington) transfer some of the 3 tonnes of Red Cross Food from the cargo lighter to the Island of Pukapuka

HMNZS RESOLUTION the Royal New Zealand Navy's Hydrographic ship visited the Island of Pukapuka, yesterday to deliver humanitarian aid and to provide technical and manpower assistance to the Island.

The Island is part of the Northern Cook Islands and was devastated by a number of cyclones earlier this year, the worst of which was Cyclone Percy.

Petty Officer Combat System Specialist (Underwater) Barry Waerea (Hastings) and Petty Officer Radio Supervisor Henry Abraham (Te Hapua) transfer some of the 3 tonnes of Red Cross Food from the cargo lighter to the Island of Pukapuka

RESOLUTION is currently on a six week deployment to the South Pacific.

RESOLUTION Lieutenant Commander Andrew McMillan led the planning team and said their initial impressions were of a Pacific paradise in real need of assistance.

"The Island came close to running out of drinking water two days prior to our arrival and it was only through the first rain in close to a month falling yesterday that they had any water at all. Despite the hardships that these people have faced they remain amazingly positive and we were very warmly welcomed," said Lieutenant Commander McMillan.

Families in Pukapuka whose homes were damaged by the cyclone more than two months ago are still being billeted in other homes and some occupy a school building.

"I am extremely grateful to Royal New Zealand Navy and especially the crew from the RESOLUTION for their support. The aid comes at a time when we most urgently needed it and will provide us with a degree of comfort for the near future. We are in a great need of assistance here - the crew has worked very hard for us and we can only give our heartfelt thanks," said Mrs Denise Temu, head of the Island Council and financial controller.

For everyone on board the Resolution visiting the Island was a real eyeopener said Commander Dave Mundy, Commanding Officer of RESOLUTION.

"It was quite humbling to see just what the local people have had to endure since the cyclone - a feeling shared by all of the Ship's Company who worked hard throughout the day to render whatever assistance they could. It was extremely satisfying to see how the supplies and technical assistance provided during our visit will help those on the Island rebuild their lives," said Commander Mundy.

Petty Officer Combat System Specialist (Underwater) Barry Waerea (Hastings) and Petty Officer Radio Supervisor Henry Abraham (Te Hapua) transfer some of the 3 tonnes of Red Cross Food from the cargo lighter to the Island of Pukapuka

RESOLUTION transferred:

* nearly 3 tonnes of Red Cross food,

* 4500 litres of drinking water, and

* 3500 litres of diesel fuel for the school.

* The Ship's engineers repaired a front-end loader vital for cyclone damage repair and for transporting building materials around the Island.

* They also repaired the engine on one of the Island's cargo lighters (which are used to transfer cargo ashore through the tight reef passage from visiting cargo ships.)

* The Navy electronics technicians provided assistance in repairing and identifying problems to the telecommunications system.


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