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Defence support continues for Canterbury region

Chief Petty Officer David Auton clears debris from the pavement outside the St Mary & St Athanasios Coptic Orthodox Church on Edgeware Road Christchurch

Chief Petty Officer David Auton clears debris from the pavement outside the St Mary & St Athanasios Coptic Orthodox Church (MC-0295-061)

10 September 2010

The New Zealand Defence Force is continuing to provide assistance to the Canterbury region in the wake of last Saturday’s earthquake.

C-130 Hercules and Boeing 757 aircraft from the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) No. 40 Squadron at Whenuapai have so far completed a total of 16 flights in and out of Christchurch to move 57 Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) personnel, 3 USAR dogs, 11 building officials, 83 Police, and equipment to support the USAR and NZ Army efforts in Christchurch. 

The Defence Force is also assisting Corrections moving more than 300 prisoners from Christchurch to prisons in the North Island, and a C-130 is continuing with that task today.

Two Iroquois helicopters from RNZAF No. 3 Squadron at Ohakea have helped officials to complete building assessments from the air, and to check damage to stopbanks and other areas.

On the ground, approximately 400 Regular Force and Reserve soldiers from 3rd Land Force Group (Burnham) are providing support, while Naval Reserve personnel from HMNZS Pegasus are also assisting with clean up and recovery operations.

Teams of 65 soldiers are working 12 hour shifts to support the Police by manning the cordoned area, while Engineers are also working in Kaiapoi, Rangiora and Christchurch suburbs to remove silt. 

Three Environmental Health Teams from the NZ Army and RNZAF have been assisting the Canterbury District Health Board with water testing, and six NZ Army physical training instructors are working as shift supervisors at the Addington Raceway Welfare Centre.

Burnham Military Camp continues to provide catering and accommodation support to the Police, and liaison officers are located at the Christchurch City Council, Civil Defence Emergency Management, Police, Waimakariri District Council and in the office of the Hon Gerry Brownlee. 

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Air Vice Marshal Peter Stockwell, says it’s been a busy week for the Defence Force.

“It’s been a massive team effort on the ground and behind the scenes for Navy, Army and Air Force this week, with our people pulling out all the stops to help the Canterbury region.  It’s heartbreaking to see the damage and the disruption to people’s lives, and we’re working with the other agencies to respond to the needs of Christchurch in a positive way.”

ENDS

Contact Jane Wright, 021 224 8658.

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