Republic of Fiji Military Forces Commander, Major-General Ro Jone Kalouniwai said these personnel, consisting of Engineers, Medics, and other specialists will team up with the Australian Defence Force soldiers to carry out rehabilitation and further assessment in Tonga, following the impacts of the violent volcanic eruption and tsunami.
The Commander added, as per the initial planning process, the soldiers are expected to be on the ground, putting the hard yards, in a span of 10 days.
“Ten days was what we thought we could sustain on ourselves, the RFMF, and anything after that we would seek the assistance and support from the Australian Defence Force. But in this case, the Australians have been kind enough to offer us their full support and so it will be more than 10 days or whatever duration that the government of Tonga may feel, that would require troops on the ground to help and assist them in the tsunami relief support.”
Major-General Kalouniwai stressed that the majority of troops deployed are engineers and plant operators, considering the massive infrastructure damage in most parts of the island kingdom.
The soldiers have completed their pre-departure isolation period, have remained in their respective bubble and have tested COVID-19 free before departure. They are also fully vaccinated with a booster shot.