The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has concluded support to Vanuatu under Operation Vanuatu Assist 23 with more than 100 tonnes of humanitarian aid, including food, shelter and medical supplies provided to the Government of Vanuatu.
As part of the Whole-of-Australian-Government response to damage caused by Tropical Cyclones Judy and Kevin, Defence provided initial support to the Government of Vanuatu through the deployment of Royal Australian Air Force aircraft to conduct aerial damage assessments, transport a multi-agency rapid assessment team and deliver emergency supplies.
The deployment of HMAS Canberra followed, with further humanitarian stores, helicopters and engineering personnel. More than 600 ADF personnel were deployed on Operation Vanuatu Assist 23 in roles including general duties, engineering, aviation, geospatial, amphibious and logistics.
Commander of ADF Operations in the South West Pacific, Major General Scott Winter, AM, said a significant amount of work was achieved in supporting and working with Vanuatu in the wake of the cyclones. “Our people proudly worked alongside Ni-Vanuatu authorities to deliver a range of emergency assistance as well as the transportation and distribution of humanitarian aid,” Major General Winter said. “Army, Air Force and Navy personnel, using our amphibious capabilities and fixed-wing airlift support, have joined together and worked side by side with Vanuatu authorities to get aid to the areas of most need.”
In addition to humanitarian aid, support to Vanuatu included hydrographic reconnaissance, route clearance, emergency medical evacuations, transport of local government officials and clean up and remediation of local infrastructure, including Vila Central Hospital, two schools and the Maternity and Child Health Clinic.
“Australia is proud to work with the Government of Vanuatu, the Pacific family and other partners to provide humanitarian support,” Major General Winter said.