Joint Media Release
Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Hon Julie Bishop MP
Minister for Health
The Hon Sussan Ley MP
17 March 2015
Today we announce Australia will provide additional medical assistance and urban search and rescue capability in response to the devastation resulting from tropical Cyclone Pam.
“Today’s announcement follows substantial work Australian teams have been doing in Port Vila over the last 36 hours and assessments from the aerial reconnaissance flights carried out in Vanuatu yesterday,” Minister Bishop said.
“Australia will be deploying an additional Australian Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team of 54 personnel, arriving in Port Vila today to clean-up and repair the Port Vila Hospital Complex.
“The USAR team will assist the Government of Vanuatu to assess the damage and potential recovery needs of other major infrastructure in Port Vila. This deployment will bring the total number of USAR personnel in-country to 56,” Minister Bishop said.
An additional Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) of 20 personnel will also be deployed, which is scheduled to arrive in Port Vila tomorrow.
“AUSMAT will provide urgent medical assistance and help to establish a temporary ward at the hospital. We are working closely with the New Zealand Government to coordinate our medical assistance to the Vanuatu Government and those affected by the disaster,” Minister Ley said.
“The arrival of additional personnel will bring the AUSMAT team to a total of 27, including 1 team leader, 5 doctors, 9 nurses, 2 paramedics, 1 radiologist, 1 pharmacist, 5 logisticians, and the 3 member initial assessment team,” Minister Ley said.
An additional four government personnel will also be deployed to coordinate the health and urban rescue effort.
We would like to thank Emergency Management Australia, and the State Governments of New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory for supporting these critical deployments. We will continue to work with the Government of Vanuatu to monitor the situation closely and consider further assistance subject to ongoing assessments.
Foreign Minister’s Office: Rachel Obradovic 0478 488 874
Minister for Health’s Office: Troy Bilsborough 0427 063 150