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NZDF and ADF deliver aid to Fiji in wake of cyclone

After a cyclone hit Fiji, the NZDF and ADF sent assistance."

In the wake of a devastating tropical storm, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) are participating in a joint operation to aid Fiji.

According to The Weather Channel, the storm, named Tropical Cyclone Winston, hit the small Pacific nation last Saturday, killing at least 29 people and forcing an additional 13,000 to seek shelter. 

The ADF will deliver assistance to Fijians by providing critical life-saving goods.

Australia's aid

According to a February 23 press release from Minister for Defence Marise Payne and Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, the Australian government gave the go-ahead to the ADF to send humanitarian supplies and personnel to Fiji after the category five storm hit the island nation.

The ADF will continue to deliver assistance to Fijians by providing critical life-saving goods to the island. Such supplies will consist of water and hygiene kits, among other items.To complement these supplies, the ADF will deploy six medical professionals from Australia's state and territory health services. 

Storm monitoring and assessment has also fallen under the ADF's purview. The Royal Australian Air Force has deployed P3-Orion surveillance aircraft.

On Monday, February 22, the Airforce's C-17A Globemaster delivered 15 personnel from the ADF reconnaissance and assessment team to Fiji. Joint Task Force (JTF) Commander, Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) Scott Hill maintained that landing the aircraft was challenging due to the conditions following the cyclone.

"Today, JTF 635 advance elements flew from [Royal Australian Air Force] Amberley into Fiji. There was a bit of concern whether we would make it into Suva or Nadi, fortunately we beat the weather and made it into Suva," said LTCOL Hill. 

"We hope that this contribution from New Zealand will go a long way."

NZDF delivering assistance 

In addition to the ADF, the NZDF announced on February 22 that a C-130 Hercules was destined for Fiji to provide 12 tonnes of humanitarian supplies. In addition, a team comprised of members from several NZ agencies will remain on the island nation to determine the impact of Winston.

"We hope that this contribution from New Zealand will go a long way in helping the people of Fiji," said Kevin McEvoy, air commodore and acting commander Join Forces New Zealand.

Ration packs, water, generators, water containers, tarpaulins and chainsaws are included in the C-130 Hercules' aid cargo. 

The alliance among Australia, NZ and Fiji is strong, and it's not surprising that the former two countries would come to the latter's aid. Hopefully, the ADF and NZDF will be able to mitigate many of the harmful effects of the tropical cyclone. 

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