Working together over recent weeks in close collaboration, Australia and the Solomon Islands Government have successfully distributed vital supplies, including medical equipment, fuel and food, to all nine provinces of Solomon Islands.
In response to requests from the Solomon Islands Government, Australia deployed two C-27J aircraft to Solomon Islands in February to transport critical medical and other supplies to provinces. We complemented the RAAF’s efforts by partnering with SolAir and Silentworld taking supplies to provinces where the C27Js cannot land. This transport assistance also addressed potential food shortages due to supply chain challenges caused by COVID-19.
Over seven days, Australia’s two C-27J aircraft completed a total of 24 flights across Solomon Islands to locations agreed with the Solomon Island Government. Australia partnered with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the National Emergency Operations Centre and the National Medical Store to identify and then transport supplies tailored specifically to the needs of different provinces.
The C-27Js transported a total of 55 tonnes of medical equipment and 39 tonnes of essential food supplies to Auki in Malaita, Gizo, Munda and Ballalae in Western, Kirakira in Makira-Ulawa. Medical supplies included 202,500 pairs of disposable gloves, 22,500 face shields, 45,000 disposable face masks, 45,000 surgical gowns and 3,000 RATS. Some of these medical supplies were also transported to Lata in Temotu.
On arrival in each destination, Australia worked closely with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and respective Provincial Disaster Operations Centres who received the medical supplies and then distributed them across the provinces.
By sea, Australia’s partnership with Silentworld and the RSIPF saw vessels restore supply chains and transport essential supplies throughout the country. Silentworld vessels delivered rice to business houses, including 100 tonnes of rice delivered to Kirakira. Medical supplies were sent to provincial health departments in Kirakira, Taro in Choiseul, Tulagi in Central, Buala in Isabel, and Tingoa in Rennell and Bellona. Gizo, Noro and Seghe in Western received education supplies. And almost all Provincial Disaster Operations Centres were given unleaded petrol and diesel fuel to ensure emergency services could continue operating to serve communities. A total of 60 tonnes of fuel were delivered to each of Makira, Malaita, Isabel, Choiseul and Western.
Underscoring the strength of the bilateral relationship, Australian High Commissioner Dr Lachlan Strahan said, “From medical equipment and food and fuel supplies to technical medical and logistics assistance and even the deployment of Australian Defence Force assets, Australia will always stand shoulder to shoulder with Solomon Islands.”
“As development partners, Australia’s support to Solomon Islands is based on the priorities identified and requests made by the Solomon Islands Government. The delivery of supplies across the country has been a complicated logistical feat requiring many resources, careful planning and collaboration between Australia and all levels of the Solomon Islands government. However, from Ballalae in the west to Lata in the east and Tingoa in the south and all provinces in between, no delivery is too difficult when lives are on the line,” said Dr Strahan.
Australia’s current COVID-19 support builds on a longstanding and ongoing investment in health services and combating other infectious and non-communicable disease threats.
– Australian High Commission