Emergency response vessels and training provided by New Zealand to Fiji proved their worth in the wake of two tropical cyclones in April.
New Zealand provided Fiji with five emergency response vessels last year, funded through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).
The largest, Ai Talai, a rescue vessel constructed in Christchurch by ICON Custom Boats, was delivered in December 2017. The other four were Sealegs amphibious craft.
MFAT provided follow-up training and support to the vessel operators through its Pacific Maritime Safety Programme.
The training was put to the test after Fiji was hit by two damaging tropical cyclones within a few weeks: Cyclone Josie on April 1, claiming the lives of five people, and Cyclone Keni, which made landfall on the island of Kadavu on April 10.
Three of the response vessels transported assessment teams to and from remote villages around Kadavu and carried emergency relief supplies including water, food and building materials.