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New Zealand Defence Force Begins Tsunami Draw Down

New Zealand Defence Force Begins Tsunami Draw Down

SGT Johnathan Edmonds of 6 SQN RNZAF, left, PTE Sean Mcguinniety, Army and ASTD Ngareima Little, Navy help clean up.

(L-R) CPL Dean Stroud, AC Matt Beattie, LAC William Simpson-Shaw and SGT Johnathan Edmonds all from 6 Sqn RNZAF.

AMED Catriona Linders with some local boys from Falehau village

Having successfully achieved its immediate disaster relief tasks in the wake of the Tsunami that struck Samoa and Tonga on the 29th September 2009 the New Zealand Defence Force has commenced a draw-down of personnel and equipment no longer required.

HMNZS Canterbury has started loading the Iroquois helicopter, vehicles and plant, and will sail from Apia on Wednesday 21 October. The departure of NZDF personnel does not signal the end of New Zealand’s assistance to Samoa. The NZ$6.1 million dollar contribution to a combined trans-Tasman package, announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Murray McCully last week, will provide the Government of Samoa with the ability to rebuild its infrastructure, restore essential services and begin the process of economic recovery.

In Tonga New Zealand has pledged $1.5 million dollars to help the northern island of Niuatoputapu rebuild.

“We will continue the aid effort in Tonga over the coming days on Niuatoputapu, an island with significant tsunami damage, before returning to New Zealand,” said Wing Commander Karl Harvey, NZDF Senior National Officer.

“The effects of this Tsunami have been felt across the South Pacific and it has had a significant impact on the people of Samoa and Tonga directly, something the NZDF personnel have seen every day. The tragic loss of life cannot be reversed but we hope that with our contribution to the combined aid effort, the people of Samoa and Tonga can start down the road to recovery and rebuild their respective communities and countries.”

Over 150 personnel from the Navy, Army and Air Force have participated in a whole of Government approach to assist the Governments of Samoa and Tonga by working with NZAID, the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, NZ Police, the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, NZ Customs, The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, NGOs and the Australian Defence Force.

ENDS

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