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Wednesday 17 February 2010 | Published in Regional


The Royal New Zealand Air Force Hercules returned twice to Aitutaki yesterday with more equipment to help the island’s clean-up progress.

On board the first flight to the island were two small bobcat bulldozers – one from T&M Heather Contractors and the other provided by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning division.

Also on the first delivery flight to Aitutaki was the much awaited water filtration pump which is capable of purifying 5000 litres of water an hour.

More Red Cross supplies were also delivered to Aitutaki.

On the Hercules’ second flight to Aitutaki, it carried Red Cross blankets and food supplies plus a large donation of kumara from T&M Heather contractors.

Remaining Te Aponga Uira equipment for repairing the island’s power supply was also aboard the last Hercules flight.

The Hercules is expected to return to New Zealand as it is on standby to deliver emergency goods to the island of Tonga which was struck by Cyclone Rene yesterday.

The 12 army personnel on Aitutaki will remain on the island for the next 14 days and in seven days that team will reassess their need to be there.

The team is self sufficient and has enough food and water rations for seven days.

They are being housed at the Aitutaki Airport where the Disaster Emergency Management team is also stationed.

The team including electricians, plumbers, builders and labourers began work on the island yesterday with the main priority to help people with their electrical wiring and setting up temporary shelter.