24 Feb 2016

NZ sends vessel, supplies to Fiji

2:47 pm on 24 February 2016

New Zealand is sending the navy vessel Canterbury to Fiji to support relief and recovery efforts following Cyclone Winston.

HMNZS Canterbury

HMNZS Canterbury Photo: NZDF

The death toll has risen to 36 and about 13,000 people are still in emergency shelters, after the category five storm destroyed houses, crops, and infrastructure.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully said HMNZS Canterbury would leave Auckland with supplies such as building materials, water storage tanks, and medical supplies. It will also carry helicopters and medical and engineering personnel.

The ship will be supported by the offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington.

A further contingent of Defence Force and Fire Service engineers was today setting off off from Ohakea to support the Fijian authorities with repairs to public buildings and critical infrastructure.

"New Zealand Defence Force C-130s are already delivering relief supplies and equipment in Fiji, and the P3 Orion continues to carry out regular reconnaissance flights," said Mr McCully.

"This is one of the most damaging cyclones in Fiji's history, and this is reflected in the scale of our response.

"New Zealand will continue to do all we can to help and we will stand with Fiji in the aftermath of this disaster."