Operation CHRISTCHURCH ASSIST Concludes
22 March 2011
Operation CHRISTCHURCH ASSIST, the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) contribution to the Whole of Government response to the devastatingChristchurchearthquake in February, has formally concluded as the focus of operations inNew Zealandshifts from rescue and recovery to long-term reconstruction.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) last week brought home Australian Urban Search and Rescue equipment which has been used over the past few weeks to assist in rescue and recovery operations.
The RAAF C-17s and C-130 Hercules aircraft moved almost 500 passengers and transported nearly 132 tonnes of cargo to assist our neighbours in their time of crisis. This significant effort has been closely coordinated with New Zealand Emergency Authorities, allowing the right personnel and equipment to be delivered where it was needed.
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, described the operation as a great example of government agencies providing a coordinated and targeted response to an emergency situation.
“The fact that the RAAF has been able to move specialist police and rescue personnel and their equipment to support the crisis demonstrates the ADF’s ability to support other agencies when their specialist expertise is required and can be complemented by the capabilities available within the ADF,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
“The RAAF C-17s and C-130s are incredibly capable aircraft and have provided the heavy lift capability that was required when moving the equipment and specialists to assist inNew Zealand.
“These aircraft and their crews responded in very short time and have moved search and rescue personnel, repatriated Australians caught in the disaster, delivered a field hospital toChristchurchand transported a desalination unit to provide fresh water to our neighbours.
“Whilst the RAAF airframes and their crews have done the heavy lifting, personnel from the three Services in the ADF were involved in the coordination and planning of this operation.
“New Zealand and Australia have a long history of standing side by side through good times and bad, and we will continue to stand by our friends and neighbours in New Zealand as they recover from this tragedy.
“While Operation CHRISTCHURCH ASSIST has now officially drawn to a close, the ADF continues to assist in the disaster relief response inJapanthrough Operation PACIFIC ASSIST.”
Media contact: Defence Media Operations 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664