New Zealand High Commission Port Vila, Vanuatu

New Zealand Defence Force to provide humanitarian assistance to Santo

HMNZS Canterbury dockside at Port Vila just before leaving for Santo

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will be providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Santo from 28 April until 10 May as part of the Pacific Partnership Exercise, the New Zealand High Commissioner, Bill Dobbie, announced.

"The Pacific Partnership is an annual United States-Led humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise that takes place in a number of Pacific Island Countries", Mr. Dobbie said.

"This year, the NZDF will participate in the Vanuatu leg of the Pacific Partnership Exercise by sending its largest ship, the HMNZS Canterbury, and over 250 NZDF personnel to Santo."

"While in Santo, experienced NZDF personnel, inlcluding medics, engineers, builders and mechanics, will work with the local government and communties to complete up to 40 surgical procedures, supply and install water tanks to local schools, and refurbish classrooms."

"Pacific Partnership provides an extraordinary opportunity to draw on the skills and expertise of NZDF surgical teams, engineers, builders and mechanics", said Mr. Dobbie.

"These activities are linked to the New Zealand Aid Programme's ongoing support for the education sector in Vanuatu and have been designed to deliver long-term sustainable benefits for the people of Espiritu Santo".

"The New Zealand Government is proud to support the work being carried out with a grant of NZ$192,000 from the New Zealand Aid Programme".

"The NZDF's participation in the Pacific Partnership Exercise will also improve its ability to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to Vanuatu in the future, and in partnership with other countries such as the United States, Australia and France, should the need arise", the High Commissioner concluded.

HMNZS Canterbury and the NZDF personnel arrived in Port Vila on 23 April after supporting the Pacific Partnership Exercise in Tonga. They are currently in Santo and will be based there untill 10 May.

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