In the wake of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit New Zealand on Nov. 14, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Vancouver is assisting the country in conducting emergency humanitarian operations and helping people evacuate to safety.
HMCS Vancouver happened to be in the vicinity, near Auckland, NZ, at the time of the earthquake for a goodwill visit to celebrate the 75th anniversary of New Zealand’s Naval Forces with other allied naval forces.
In the evening of Nov. 14, the ship began moving towards the areas most affected by the earthquake as part of a multinational Task Group of warships. On Nov. 16, HMCS Vancouver arrived off the coastal town of Kaikoura, South Island, ready to commence operations.
“HMCS Vancouver’s rapid shift from training and naval operations to assisting earthquake victims in New Zealand is a testament to the professionalism and capabilities of the Royal Canadian Navy. More broadly, Canadians can be proud that their Canadian Armed Forces stand ready to assist our allies when we are called upon,” said Gen. Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff in a statement.
Embarked with a CH-124 Sea King helicopter and air detachment, basic Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief supplies, and 231 personnel, HMCS Vancouver is evacuating persons from affected areas and assisting in the transport of emergency supplies into the area since a majority of roads and rail lines are down.
The basic supplies aboard the ship include first aid kits, tents, generators, blankets, chainsaws and hand tools.
“The RCN is one of “Canada’s First Responders” on times of crisis or conflict. When Canada wants to demonstrate its leadership and commitment, the government sends ships,” stated a Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces press release.