A C-130 Hercules aircraft sent by the New Zealand Defence Force arrived in Indonesia about midnight overnight with 8.2 tonnes of emergency supplies for survivors of last week’s 7.5-magnitude earthquake and tsunami.
Flight Lieutenant Dave Natapu, the aircraft captain, says the aid supplies would help address the urgent need for clean water, power and shelter in the disaster zones.
“I think we can do a lot of good here. The entire team is looking forward to get stuck in."
Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said the Hercules and a 14-member detachment would stay and help transport aid supplies and emergency responders to the quake-damaged city of Palu on Sulawesi Island and other affected areas starting today.
Multinational operations to fly aid supplies to disaster zones are being staged out of Balikpapan, a port city in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province, which is about 380 kilometres west of Palu, Major General Gall said.
“We will be working with Indonesian authorities and our international partners to provide an air bridge between Balikpapan and Palu and help bring aid supplies to where they are needed most.”
The earthquake and tsunami killed at least 1,400 people, injured about 2,500, displaced more than 80,000 people and destroyed thousands of homes and buildings in Palu and surrounding areas.
The United Nations humanitarian agency, UNOCHA, estimates that about 190,000 people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.