NATION

Kiwis Waste No Time On Vanuabalavu

The New Zealand Defence Force personal onboard the HMNZS Canterbury have wasted no time in its rebuilding works on battered Vanuabalavu. Around 270 engineers and naval crew are on the
08 Mar 2016 11:33
Kiwis Waste No Time On Vanuabalavu
Doctor Adam McLeagh from the New Zealand Medical Assistance Team, Sergeant Major John Broderson, Uraia Rainima from Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office and Warrant Officer Korovavala inspect Lomaloma school, the site of the New Zealand Defence Force’s Forward Operating Base. Source: New Zealand Defence Force

The New Zealand Defence Force personal onboard the HMNZS Canterbury have wasted no time in its rebuilding works on battered Vanuabalavu.

Around 270 engineers and naval crew are on the island repairing and shaping up the community after being badly hit by Cyclone Winston.

Commander Simon Rooke, commanding officer of the HMNZS said the multi-role vessel was anchored off Lomaloma.

This is the main village on the island of Vanuabalavu, and was serving as the maritime hub for New Zealand’s post-disaster recovery operations in Fiji’s northern outer islands.

“We have brought 106 tonnes of aid supplies as well as personnel to help rebuild community buildings. We are here to assist the community to restore some normality to their lives after such a severe event,” Commander Rooke said.

He said aid supplies funded by the NZ Aid Programme have been offloaded using Canterbury’s landing craft and distributed to the affected communities.

The ship’s Seasprite helicopter has been transporting civilian medical volunteers from New Zealand and staff from Fiji’s disaster management office to nearby islands in the northern Lau archipelago.

The Canterbury is also converting seawater into drinking water to support the New Zealand contingent and to provide potable water to Lomaloma residents.

Thirteen members from the New Zealand Fire Service’s Urban Search and Rescue Team are also helping in the rebuild at Vanuabalavu, USAR Task Force Leader Murray Binning said.

“All our USAR personnel come from trade backgrounds. They’ve got their own hammers, tools and generators and form part of the reconstruction team.”

Martin Buet, head of the New Zealand Medical Assistance Team, said one doctor and three nurses are conducting outreach clinics to the different villages at Vanuabalavu over the next two weeks.

“We are here in support of the local government. We may deploy another team to northern Lau if the local authorities see that there’s a need.”

 

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