HMAS Canberra at the Suva Harbour yesterday. The vessel has returned to Australia after delivering military personnel and relief supplies in the aftermath of Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston. Picture: RAMA
AUSTRALIA'S largest naval vessel HMAS Canberra departed our shores yesterday after successfully completing its first overseas operational deployment.
The departure was announced yesterday in a joint statement by Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and Minister for Defence Marise Payne.
But defence personnel and equipment from the vessel are staying back to assist in the recovery phase.
The ministers said the Australian Defence Force's deployment to the country under Operation Fiji was moving from the phase of response to recovery.
"Australian Defence Force command and engineering personnel, vehicles and helicopters will remain in Fiji to conduct assessment activities and deliver assistance," the statement said.
"Defence force personnel removed debris, restored critical infrastructure, supplied fresh drinking water and delivered lifesaving supplies to the islands of Koro and Taveuni."
During their time in Fiji, more than 1000 Australian Defence Force and humanitarian personnel have been providing critical assistance after Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.
This included the delivery of more than 341 tonnes of humanitarian disaster relief stores, supplying 30,000 litres of drinking water, delivering nearly 10,000 hygiene kits and more than 7000 shelter kits, and repairing seven primary schools, one high school and two medical centres.
"Australia has committed $A15million ($F23m) in humanitarian assistance to Fiji's recovery, providing lifesaving supplies and access to health services to 200,000 people.
"The Australian Defence Force will continue to work with the National Disaster Management Office and in support of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces to help Fiji recover from this disaster.
"We remain committed to supporting Fiji's recovery and assisting our friends and neighbours in times of crisis," the ministers' joint statement said.
Babasiga (pronounced bambasinga) is the dry land of Macuata in northern Fiji - our place in the sun in Fiji. Peceli is from Fiji from the village is Vatuadova and the beach is Nukutatava. Peceli Ratawa passed away on 27th December 2015 so this is Wendy's blog now. Wendy is an Australian and today live in Geelong, Australia.