The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft and personnel to transport PPE and medical supplies to provinces in Papua New Guinea.
The stores were being held in warehouses in Port Moresby but getting the supplies from the capital to provincial areas has been a major challenge for local authorities.
Earlier this month, the NZDF deployed three personnel as part of a New Zealand team assisting Papua New Guinea with its COVID-19 response.
They have been providing health planning and logistics support at Papua New Guinea’s National Control Centre in Port Moresby and working closely with members of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.
One of their initial tasks was scoping the inventory of PPE and medical supplies in Port Moresby and working on distribution of these stores to communities.
Air Commodore Shaun Sexton, who heads air operations for the NZDF, said the Hercules would transport supplies to the areas of Manus, Oro, Western Province, West Sepik and East Sepik over a period of about five to six days.
“There have been limited options for getting these supplies to communities in provincial areas, and we’re pleased to be able to assist our Pacific partners in this way,” he said.
The group of 31 personnel deployed for this mission included air crew, maintenance and support personnel, and air load teams to manage movement of the cargo.
The NZDF’s deploying personnel are vaccinated and undertake a range of measures to prevent transmission of COVID-19. The group will complete managed isolation on their return to New Zealand.
The New Zealand team that deployed to Papua New Guinea earlier this month, which included the three NZDF personnel based in Port Moresby, also included two doctors, three nurses, two Fire and Emergency NZ logistics staff and a representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade who have been based in Bougainville, supporting the Bougainville Department of Health.
30 November 2021
Photo caption: The Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules arrives in Port Moresby.
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