ADF assists Fiji with cyclone recovery

Andi Yu
·2-min read

The Australian military has begun delivering supplies to remote Fijian islands and repairing critical infrastructure in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Yasa.

The ADF personnel, who set out from Brisbane on Christmas Eve, had to complete two weeks of quarantine before starting the humanitarian mission.

A small ADF construction team got to work immediately on the cyclone-hit island of Vanua Levu working in COVID-19 'bubbles'.

The ADF personnel all returned negative COVID-19 test results during their quarantine and will maintain COVID-safe protocols to ensure the protection of the Fijian people, a federal government statement said.

The Fijian government and military hope to repair school buildings in time for the start of the 2021 academic year.

ADF engineers have been rebuilding a school and have fixed the supply of clean water to the island, Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said.

The federal government has provided $4.5 million to help Australia's island neighbour recover from the category-five cyclone.

It was one of the strongest cyclones recorded in the Pacific, and made landfall on the northern island of Vanua Levu in the week before Christmas.

It brought torrential rain and gusts up to 345km/h to the archipelago, which had been ravaged by Tropical Cyclone Harold in April.

The homes of thousands of Fijians, along with schools and other infrastructure, were damaged or destroyed.

ADF teams are now starting to clear debris and deliver critical supplies to remote islands.

Australian military helicopters are moving tonnes of building materials and humanitarian disaster-relief equipment.

"We are proud to support our Fijian Vuvale, just as they supported us during the Black Summer Bushfires last year," Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said.

"I'm encouraged by the ADF's ability to adapt and overcome challenges posed by the pandemic so we can assist our friends and neighbours, just as we did in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands in 2020."