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NZDF transports water purification plant to disaster zone

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has transported components of a water purification plant to the Indonesian city of Palu, to help ease the acute shortage of drinking water in areas hardest hit by last month’s earthquake and tsunami.

Flight Lieutenant Dave Natapu, aircraft captain from the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s No.40 Squadron, said an Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft delivered to Palu yesterday the equipment, which had been donated by France, and the 32 French engineers who will install it.

“Water supply is one of the key necessities in the aftermath of any disaster,” he said.

“There are obvious dangers in people drinking water from potentially contaminated sources, so having this water purification system would help address that.”

The Hercules and a 15-member NZDF detachment have helped transport more than 53 tonnes of international aid to quake-damaged areas since they arrived with 8.2 tonnes of aid from New Zealand last week, Flight Lieutenant Natapu said.

“We have flown rescue personnel and officials, as well as emergency supplies from Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.”

Multinational operations to fly aid to disaster zones are being staged out of Balikpapan, a port city in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province, which is about 380 kilometres west of quake-ravaged Palu.

The official death toll from the twin disasters currently stands at 1948, with more than 10,000 others injured. The United Nations humanitarian agency, UNOCHA, estimates about 200,000 people require urgent humanitarian aid.



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