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‘Timely’ arrival of emergency equipment from China

Wednesday 1 March 2023 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Local, National


‘Timely’ arrival of emergency equipment from China
Emergency Management Cook Islands director John Strickland speaks at a handover ceremony for a host of equipment from Zhuhai City in China. 23022810. Photo: Matthew Littlewood.

The arrival of emergency equipment costing more than $150,000 for the Cook Islands has been hailed as “timely” in the wake of destructive weather events such as Cyclone Gabrielle.

A handing-over ceremony took place at the Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday.

The equipment, which came from an agreement with Zhuhai City in China, included five 12KVA brand new generators, 10 lots of 7KVA new generator units, and 100 Lenovo tablets.

It is estimated the equipment cost over $150,000. Most of the gears and equipment has been assigned to the Rarotonga Punas and Pa Enua for Disaster Risk activities.

Emergency Management Cook Islands director John Strickland said the delivery of these items were timely, especially in the light of Cyclone Gabrielle’s recent impact in New Zealand. The cost of the damage caused to parts of the North Island is believed to be more than NZ$13 billion.

“I think this equipment will have a positive impact. When you have a cyclone, power cuts. I see this as a key component for both Rarotonga and the Pa Enua,” Strickland said.

“Sometimes, during a cyclone, the worst time is during the night. It’s about making sure that services have support to assist.”

“As we now know thanks to Cyclone Gabrielle, it’s the power sources that are most vulnerable during such a weather event.”

Strickland said the Cook Islands Government had shown foresight in ordering this equipment around the end of 2021.

“I still believe this equipment will play a huge role in time,” he said.

Cook Islands deputy prime minister Robert Tapaitau said November 2021 marked the beginning of correspondence between the Zhuhai Municipal Government, and the Cook Islands Government to establish a partnership which would see the Cook Islands receive better resources for disaster management.

In March 2022, the first container arrived in the Cook Islands and included radio units and chainsaws, which were then distributed to the Pa Enua.

The most recent container arrived in Rarotonga on February 14. Tapaitau said there were also four pallets of solar lights for the Ministry of Culture, while the third container would arrive soon.

“Later in the year, technical staff from Zhuhai City will be arriving in Rarotonga to conduct the installation of solar and air conditioning equipment for our National Archive infrastructure to be fully air conditioned 24 hours a day,” Tapaitau said.

“We deeply value our sister relationship with the Zhuhai Municipal Government, and any and all donor and partner assistance in the disaster management space is greatly appreciated.”