The island nation Vanuatu has been badly devastated by a cyclone, and hence, to help it tide over the situation five RAAF planes have been pressed into service including an aid package of $5 million by Australia.
On Friday, the small Pacific island had been ravaged by Cyclone Pam which left dozens of people dead, and many injured. Julie Bishop, Foreign Affairs Minister of Australia, announced Australia’s resolve to join the international efforts to help the government of Vanuatu come out of the situation. She added that there had not been reports of any casualties of Australian citizen so far; however, efforts are on to locate any Australian affected by the cyclone. The Australian government was in touch with Vanuatu government to assess the extent of casualties and damages across the 65-island nation inhabited by 267000 people. She further added that besides $5 million aid through Australian development organizations, her government had been sending life-saving supplies for around 5000 people, a team of medical experts, search and rescue personnel, and disaster relief experts to Vanuatu.
Kevin Andrews, Defence Minister, told that two transport RAAF C-17 planes had already been sent from Amberley base of Queensland loaded with such emergency aids as blankets, hygiene kits, shelter kits, sleeping mats, water storage buckets, insect nets, and water purification tablets. Defence personnel and Foreign Affairs officials had been sent to Vanuatu to further assess the type of aid needed. Andrews further added that a RAAF P-3 Orion reconnaissance plane had already been over the Solomon Islands taking pictures to find any damage there. Another P-3 Orion had been planned to carry out similar type of pictures over Vanuatu, he added. He concluded saying that Defense department would extend further help to the cyclone affected island nation, once the situation became clearer.