Defence personnel return from Fiji

February 2, 2021 – More than 600 ADF personnel who deployed on Operation FIJI ASSIST have arrived back in Sydney on HMAS Adelaide, following a five-week deployment to the Republic of Fiji.

The Joint Task Group deployed on Christmas Eve following a request for assistance from the Fijian Government in response to devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Yasa.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne said the Australian Government was, and always will be, there for our Fijian vuvale.

“Australia is pleased to have worked in partnership with the Government of Fiji in response to Tropical Cyclone Yasa,” Minister Payne said.

“Fiji’s Military Forces and Australian Defence Force personnel worked extremely hard over the Christmas/New Year period to refurbish schools, clear roads and distribute clean drinking water as well as food and hygiene kits.

“Unfortunately, the resilience of Fiji is being tested again with Cyclone Ana causing widespread damage over the weekend and more bad weather forecast this week. Australia stands ready to assist where we can.”

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC thanked the personnel for their efforts.

“The more than 600 personnel spent the holidays away from their own families to assist the Fijian Government with tasks such as repairing damaged school buildings and delivering essential supplies to local communities,” Minister Reynolds said.

“I thank the friends and family of our Defence personnel. It is your support which enables the ADF to achieve these meaningful missions.

“The ADF is proud to have assisted Fiji in its time of need, and once again work side-by-side with the RFMF.

“Australia is extremely grateful to the Republic of Fiji Military Forces for the support provided to us during the Black Summer Bushfires last year.”

Australia’s assistance for TC Yasa included:

  • Helping repair 32 schools in time for the start of the school year;
  • Delivering 165 tonnes of relief stores and supplies;
  • Generating and distributing 918,000 liters of clean drinking water;
  • Providing humanitarian supplies on five RAAF C-17A flights; and
  • Utilizing a P-8A Poseidon to conduct aerial damage assessments of Fijian islands in order to aid recovery efforts.
  • $4.5 million package of assistance, including:
    • humanitarian relief supplies for building materials, tents, medical supplies, solar lighting and hygiene kits
    • education supplies to enable children to return to school
    • support for international and local NGOs and the Fiji Red Cross to aid their work with affected communities.

All personnel have completed a 14-day quarantine period at sea. Personnel were also tested for COVID-19 on departure from Fiji and prior to arriving in Sydney.

HMAS Adelaide remains Australia’s high-readiness vessel for responding to natural disasters at home and in the region. She will resupply in Australia in preparation for any future events during the current high-risk weather season.

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