Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark today announced that New Zealand will provide a further package of assistance to Vanuatu, to support the response to Tropical Cyclone Harold.
“Tropical Cyclone Harold has caused widespread damage to critical infrastructure, buildings and homes, and crops in the northern islands of Vanuatu,” Mr Peters said.
“New Zealand always stands ready to assist our Pacific neighbours respond to natural disasters, and we will work with our regional partners and non-government organisations to help the people of Vanuatu get back on their feet as quickly as possible,” Mr Peters said.
“A NZDF C-130 will fly to Vanuatu later this week carrying a privately owned helicopter to assist with medical evacuations, and to support the relief effort. It will also transport supplies requested by the Government of Vanuatu including satellite phones, chainsaw kits and agricultural kits,” said Mr Mark.
“A NZDF P-3 Orion conducted a surveillance flight over affected areas of Vanuatu yesterday. The crew have returned with imagery which will help the Government of Vanuatu deliver aid where it’s most needed,” said Mr Mark.
“The deployment of the C-130 will also allow the New Zealand High Commission to facilitate repatriations of some of those New Zealanders wishing to leave Vanuatu, with a focus on those most at risk,” said Mr Peters.
“The New Zealand response is focused on ensuring timely and effective humanitarian support gets to those who need it most, while also helping Vanuatu remain free of COVID-19. We will apply serious protocols to ensure we do not put Vanuatu at risk,” Mr Peters said.
New Zealand has also agreed to provide funding directly to the Government of Vanuatu to address immediate relief efforts and support early recovery activities. This brings New Zealand’s total contribution to the Tropical Cyclone Harold response in Vanuatu to $2.5 million.