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Australian Government RAAF Support For Burma

The Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP
Minister for Defence

Australian Government Support To Burma

The Australian Government has announced today that Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft will provide additional assistance to Burma's cyclone victims.

The Australian Government has directed the Australian Defence Force to respond to a request for assistance from the United Nations World Food Programme to transport helicopters from South Africa to Thailand.

The helicopters will be used to transport vital aid and humanitarian assistance into remote cyclone-affected areas of Burma.

"The Australian Government did not hesitate to support a World Food Program request to assist with their current humanitarian operation into Burma," said Minister for Defence Joel Fitzgibbon.

"A Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster is now being prepared to travel to South Africa where it will transport helicopters from Johannesburg to Bangkok to assist in the international relief effort."

"The World Food Program requested immediate support from a small number of countries as commercial aircraft were not available in a suitable timeframe."

"The ADF has the knowledge and experience to make an immediate and positive contribution to this international humanitarian assistance effort," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Operation NARGIS ASSIST is the Australian Defence Force contribution to the Australian Government's response to the devastation in Burma caused by Cyclone Nargis.

The ADF delivered over 30 tonnes of humanitarian assistance to Burma on 13 May. Following an acceptance of Australian aid by the Burmese Government, the ADF committed one C-17 Globemaster Aircraft to transport humanitarian aid supplies.

The Globemaster provides the ADF with a strategic airlift capability that is almost four times that of the C-130 Hercules which makes it an ideal aircraft to deliver large quantities of equipment or supplies over significant distances.

ENDS

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