The French Naval Vessel Le Vendémiaire departed the Suva wharf on Saturday afternoon (3rd April 2010) with relief supplies for victims of Tropical Cyclone Tomas in Fiji’s southern Lau group.
The vessel arrived on Friday night as part of ongoing relief assistance from the French government.
The chief of the French Defence Mission for Fiji and Tonga, Major Loic Davaillon, said 14 Fiji personnel will be joining the French team.
“On board, along with the 92 crew members, we will have a doctor from Fiji as well as 13 others to assist in distribution and communication with the villagers,” Major Davaillon said.
Le Vendémiaire will remian in Fiji waters for five days distributing relief items to various islands in southern Lau affected by TC Tomas.
“We have on board a French helicopter Puma to go to villages and aid in delivery supplies in the remote areas,” Major Davaillon added.
The France, Australia and New Zealand (FRANZ) agreement provides a joint assistance network in the case of a natural disaster in the South Pacific. Major Davaillon said the mission was at the request of the Fiji Government with the supervision of the national disaster management agency, DISMAC.
“We have been directed by DISMAC of which islands are in need of assistance and will be working accordingly.”
He said the whole mission would cost FJ$2 million.
“We will load supplies such as tents, tarpaulins and medicals supplies that were brought in the French aircraft CASA along with food supplies DISMAC has to supply to the affected areas.”
The French Military Aircraft Gardian surveyed the Lau group last week for TC Tomas damages.
(Government of Fiji)