After helping to deliver 216 tonnes of disaster relief, HMAS Darwin has completed support to residents of the Kaikoura area following the earthquake that struck the South Island of New Zealand on Monday.
The disaster relief stores flown by Australian and Coalition helicopters included 13,000 kilograms of food, 2780kg of fruit and vegetables, 6000kg of rice, pasta and flour, four generators, two portable pumps and 10,000kg of pet food.
“HMAS Darwin was diverted from her planned participation in the International Naval Review in Auckland and steamed to Kaikoura in response to a request from the New Zealand Government following the earthquake,” said the Minister for Defence, Senator Marise Payne.
“The ship arrived in Kaikoura on Wednesday (16 Nov) evening. Her S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter has been supporting the distribution of disaster relief stores over the past two days.”
Working with three other helicopters from Canada and the United States, the offload from New Zealand’s amphibious sealift vessel, HMNZS Canterbury, into the damaged town was around 216 tonnes.
Minister Payne said HMAS Darwin provided a shore party of 23 to work alongside other Coalition partners in support of Civil Defence operational tasks including providing assistance into areas which previously hadn’t received relief.
“Additionally Darwin’s ship’s Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats assisted in the evacuation of 60 civilians from the town to HMNZS Canterbury,” Minister Payne said.
“Having HMAS Darwin already in New Zealand has enabled us to respond quickly to this request. The ship’s company under Commander Phillip Henry have completed their tasks to the highest levels.”
“While participating in the International Naval Review is important, helping our neighbours who have been impacted directly by the earthquake has been our highest priority.”
“Our thoughts remain with those affected and we stand ready to provide additional support if it is requested.”
Henry Budd (Senator Payne’s office) 0429 531143
Defence Media (02) 6127 1999