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Source: New Zealand Government

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold.

“Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts of COVID-19.

“Early reports show Tropical Cyclone Harold has caused major damage to homes, public buildings, infrastructure, telecommunications networks and crops,” Mr Peters said. 

“At the request of the Government of Vanuatu, New Zealand deployed an NZDF P3 Orion this morning to undertake aerial surveillance of the damage.

“New Zealand has also made available $500,000 funding to respond to requests from the Government of Vanuatu to procure relief items and assess needs and impacts, and for the release of essential relief items already available on the ground. These are held in partnership with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Vanuatu.

“Assessment of the damage is ongoing, and we will consider any further assistance if requested from the Government of Vanuatu,” Mr Peters said.

“We are aware that the Government of Vanuatu is running a “keep it out” strategy, and we will give serious consideration to ensure that any response to the Cyclone does not lead to the spread of COVID-19 to Vanuatu,” said Mr Peters.