Joint Media Release:
- Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women.
Australia stands with our Pacific family as the devastation of Cyclone Harold becomes clear.
This destructive cyclone has impacted the people of Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga and Solomon Islands, and has resulted in tragic loss of life in Solomon Islands.
Following Vanuatu’s request for international assistance, the Australian Government has approved a package of immediate assistance including:
- humanitarian relief supplies, such as blankets, lanterns, shelter kits and hygiene kits, and support for logistics in-country;
- support for the Government of Vanuatu in areas including health, education and policing to respond to the immediate impacts of the cyclone; and
- support to international and local NGOs to support the Government’s efforts to provide immediate assistance to affected communities.
A Royal Australian Air Force flight will transport high priority emergency relief supplies to Vanuatu.
The Government has already supported Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office to undertake aerial surveillance and the Red Cross and non-government organisations to release pre-positioned relief items, such as tents and water containers.
Australia has already provided support to Solomon Islands for its clean-up and has offered support to the Governments of Fiji and Tonga.
“We stand ready to provide further help to our Pacific family in whatever ways we can,” Minister Payne said.
“It will be some time before the full impact of this disaster is known.”
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, said that in the most trying of situations, Australia and Vanuatu will stand together.
“I am proud that the ADF is able to help Vanuatu through RAAF transportation of humanitarian stores; it’s part of our commitment to stand shoulder-to-shoulder during times of crisis.”
Australia will implement strict protocols to minimise any chance of transmission of the Covid-19 virus to Vanuatu.
Australia is working in partnership with Pacific Island governments, the Red Cross, UN agencies and NGOs. Through the FRANZ trilateral disaster relief arrangement, Australia is also working with New Zealand and France to support relief efforts to affected countries.
“We will continue to work closely with our Pacific family, supporting partner governments to help people affected by this cyclone and jointly addressing the risks of COVID,” Minister Payne said.