Friday, March 19, 2010

We're Neighbours

Fiji Times - Friday, March 19, 2010

THE immediate response by New Zealand in the wake of Hurricane Tomas indicates the close relationship that still exists between the two countries.

New Zealand Defence Force squadron leader and media adviser Kavae Tamariki told the Fiji Times despite recent tension between the two countries, "at the end of the day, we're Pacific neighbours".

"It's good for us, from a defence side of things, to come here and help," Mr Tamariki said.

Acting Head of Mission at the New Zealand High Commission Phillip Taula said officials from both countries met shortly after the Hercules C130 aircraft landed at Nausori Airport.

They spoke of the need for an aerial assessment to determine the extent of damage.

"Depending on what has been assessed, the New Zealand Government will then determine what form of assistance will be provided," Mr Taula said.

He said the aerial assessment would initially cover the whole of Labasa before other areas, including Cikobia.

The results will be handed to government authorities so they too could determine the appropriate assistance needed.

A 26-member squadron is in the country, comprising New Zealand Air Force officers and security and medical personnel.

They brought 749 temporary shelters, 2300 water containers, 10,000 water purification tablets and various other supplies.

The supplies were flown to Labasa on Wednesday before the aerial assessment of the Northern Division was conducted.

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