Friday April 18, 2014

RAAF responds to regional disasters

Medical supplies are unloaded from a RAAF C-17 in Indonesia. (DoD)

Medical supplies are unloaded from a RAAF C-17 in Indonesia. (DoD)

The ADF has mobilised a number of aircraft to support earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Samoa and Indonesia.

On October 1, a C-17 departed RAAF Richmond for Samoa carrying ADF aero-medical evacuation teams, rescue equipment and emergency supplies, followed later that day by a C-130 flight.

Chief of Joint Operations Command, Lieutenant General Mark Evans, says further flights and other measures with an enduring impact have been prepared.  “Two Australian C-130s, in New Zealand on training tasks, were expected to transport New Zealand officials and NZDF Iroquois helicopters as part of the New Zealand Government response to the disaster.”

The Department of Defence then announced on October 3 that it was mobilising a C-130 from RAAF Base Darwin and a C-17 from RAAF Base Richmond to deliver relief, medical and search and rescue teams to Indonesia, while it also dispatched HMAS Kanimbla to sail from Sydney to Padang, which carries a Sea King helicopter on board.

ADF chief Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said that the ability of the ADF to deploy in two simultaneous relief efforts was a testament to its capabilities. “We are well placed to support both operations; I consider the ADF’s ability to rapidly deploy personnel and equipment to aid disaster-struck nations as one of our defining features.

“Our neighbours in the South West Pacific, Samoa and Tonga, and Indonesia have suffered greatly and as we move to provide assistance, our condolences go to those who have lost family members and their homes. We trust that our efforts will help those communities re-establish normalcy as quickly as possible,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.