The Royal Australian Navy is contributing to the humanitarian assistance mission to Fiji in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Winston with three helicopters.
Two MRH-90 helicopters will depart HMAS Albatross to join another MRH-90 from 808 Squadron onboard HMAS Canberra in Brisbane, Australia before the ship and embarked personnel sail to Fiji in the coming days, the Navy said.
Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, said the versatility of the MRH-90 Taipan helicopter will make a valuable contribution to relief and recovery efforts.
Commodore Smallhorn said: “The MRH-90 and personnel from 808 Squadron who fly and maintain the aircraft, are enormously adaptable in terms of the sorts of roles and missions they can execute.”
“The helicopter assisted in relief efforts after Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu in 2015, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013 and also Operation Render Safe, a mine clearing exercise removing Second World War ordnance in Papua New Guinea in 2014.”
The Fiji government said the death toll of the monster cyclone Winston which hit Fiji on Saturday, February 20, 2016 reached 42 people. Initial estimates place the damages bill at around one billion Fijian dollars (approx. US$469.3 million).