Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja have confirmed HMAS Adelaide and its crew began their return to Australia on Wednesday, marking the completion of a three-week recovery operation in Fiji following Tropical Cyclone Yasa.
Members from HMAS Adelaide, the Australian Army’s 6th Engineer Support Regiment and 5th Aviation Regiment, have been working in partnership with Fijian authorities to clear debris and repair critical infrastructure following the devastating category five cyclone.
This included repairing the Galoa Primary School, with students and teachers returning this week to a newly reconstructed classroom, complete with desks, chairs and school supplies.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne said the Australian government will continue to work hand in hand with our Fijian vuvale to support ongoing recovery efforts.
“Australia is proud to contribute to the government of Fiji’s swift and effective response to Tropical Cyclone Yasa. After the trauma they have suffered in the aftermath of TC Yasa, it is wonderful to see teachers and students back in the classroom for the new school year,” Minister Payne said.
In addition to Galoa Primary School, another 32 schools were refurbished or temporarily restored, with Australian support in the form of aid and logistical assistance.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the ADF had made a meaningful contribution to Fiji in supporting the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF).
“The ADF has spent several weeks working with our Fijian vuvale to reconstruct the Galoa Primary School and has also delivered stores, temporary classroom tents, furnishings and supplies for other schools in the affected Northern Division. The reach of the amphibious and rotary wing capabilities operating from HMAS Adelaide was key to meeting the needs of those affected by the cyclone in outlying areas,” Minister Reynolds said.
Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja said 165 tonnes of aid was distributed across the cyclone-affected area, including 918,000 litres of water.
“The combined efforts of the ADF and RFMF has been a great testament to the strength of our partnership, as we continue to meet challenges together,” Minister Seselja added.
HMAS Adelaide remains Australia's high-readiness vessel for responding to natural disasters in the region and will resupply in Australia to ensure preparedness for any future events.