Royal Australian Air Force and Australian Army aircraft have been providing humanitarian assistance support to Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands following a devastating earthquake that hit the region on February 26.
Three Army CH-47F Chinook heavylift helicopters from 5 Aviation Regiment are assisting local authorities and the PNG Defence Force in distributing emergency supplies, while a RAAF C-130J Hercules and a King Air 350 are providing an air bridge, transporting supplies and personnel between Port Moresby and the Southern Highlands.
“The current levels of ADF support, particularly the CH-47F helicopters and their ability to reach these remote highland areas, is critical as the number of casualties rises and level of damage increases,” Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne said.
In addition a RAAF C-17 Globemaster departed Townsville on March 10 carrying disaster relief supplies and ADF support personnel.
As well as the aircraft assets, the ADF is also providing additional command, communications, logistic and medical support elements, drawn from Army and RAAF units around Australia, the Minister said.
“The support provided by ADF personnel is enabling PNG Defence Force members to distribute critical humanitarian and medical supplies, including tarpaulins, bed mats and water containers,” Minister Payne said.
The 7.5 magnitude earthquake has affected up to 140,000 people.