Hundreds of Defence Force personnel deployed on Operation Fiji Assist have returned to Sydney.
Over 600 ADF personnel have arrived in Sydney on HMAS Adelaide after completing a five-week deployment in the Republic of Fiji on Operation Fiji Assist.
The Joint Task Group arrived in the Pacific island nation on Christmas Eve following a request for aid from the Fijian government in response to Tropical Cyclone Yasa.
The ADF’s contribution involved:
- helping repair 32 schools in time for the start of the school year;
- delivering 165 tonnes of relief stores and supplies;
- generating and distributing 918,000 litres of clean drinking water;
- providing humanitarian supplies on five RAAF C-17A flights; and
- utilising a P-8A Poseidon to conduct aerial damage assessments of Fijian islands in order to aid recovery efforts.
The federal government’s $4.5 million package of assistance to the Pacific island nation included:
- humanitarian relief supplies for building materials, tents, medical supplies, solar lighting and hygiene kits
- education supplies to enable children to return to school
- support for international and local NGOs and the Fiji Red Cross to aid their work with affected communities.
“Australia is pleased to have worked in partnership with the government of Fiji in response to Tropical Cyclone Yasa,” Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne said
“Fiji's Military Forces and Australian Defence Force personnel worked extremely hard over the Christmas/New Year period to refurbish schools, clear roads and distribute clean drinking water as well as food and hygiene kits.
“Unfortunately, the resilience of Fiji is being tested again with Cyclone Ana causing widespread damage over the weekend and more bad weather forecast this week. Australia stands ready to assist where we can.”
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds thanked ADF personnel for their contribution.
“The more than 600 personnel spent the holidays away from their own families to assist the Fijian government with tasks such as repairing damaged school buildings and delivering essential supplies to local communities,” Minister Reynolds said.
“I thank the friends and family of our Defence personnel. It is your support which enables the ADF to achieve these meaningful missions.
“The ADF is proud to have assisted Fiji in its time of need, and once again work side-by-side with the RFMF.”
Minister Reynolds concluded, “Australia is extremely grateful to the Republic of Fiji Military Forces for the support provided to us during the Black Summer Bushfires last year.”