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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: New Zealand Defence Force

A Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft departed today to deliver critical freight to Kiribati and Fiji.

The C-130 Hercules is destined for Kiribati to offload crucial water infrastructure to support the Government of Kiribati’s response to their severe drought.  A state of disaster was declared on 11 June, with the entire country of around 120,000 people affected by a lack of rainfall.

The aircraft will then fly to Nadi Airport, Fiji, to deliver a sterilizer destined for the new Ba Hospital.

Logan Currie, chief executive of medical solutions provider Cubro, said life-saving operations at Ba Hospital cannot commence until the steriliser is in place.

“With ongoing freight challenges, there was simply no other way to get essential health care equipment like this steriliser to our Pacific neighbours.

“We had exhausted all shipping options, and were concerned that life-saving surgeries would be delayed if we couldn’t find a way of getting the steriliser to Fiji.”

Air Component Commander Air Commodore Shaun Sexton said the flight to Fiji had been planned for some weeks.

“When the call came in to assist Kiribati, we organised the diversion to ensure they were able to receive what they needed.  We’re happy to have helped these consignments make it to Kiribati and Fiji where they will quite literally be life-saving.”

Also on board the aircraft are 9000 resource books for senior secondary school children, which have been gifted by the Fiji Association in Auckland and ESA Publications, and cover a range of subjects including English, Maths, Economics, Chemistry, Science, Physics and Accounting.

President of the Fiji Association in Auckland, Dr Satendra Singh said the books would assist in much needed revision work after Covid-related problems faced by many schools across the country.

“The textbooks will be distributed by the Fijian Education Ministry to needy schools, especially in remote areas, in time for many senior students to prepare for exams.”

On the return leg from Fiji, the Hercules will return equipment and stores back to New Zealand on completion of a bilateral military exercise involving 90 New Zealand Army Officer Cadets who have been undertaking their field training in Fiji with the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.