Post cyclone aid to Solomon Islands

Two RAAF C-130 Hercules from No 37 Squadron (A97-171 and A97-189) reached Honiara, each carrying an Iroquois helicopter from No 5 Squadron. These began the massive recovery task after Cyclone "Namu" had lashed the Solomon Islands for more than 40 hours over 18-19 May, bringing winds of 100 knots and more than 20 inches of rain. On the first day alone the helicopters flew 33 missions carrying food and medical supplies, and made five medical evacuations. Other RAAF Hercules and aircraft from New Zealand and the US flew in more supplies, and a Caribou from 35 Squadron also established a fuel and supply dump on Small Malaita. A MATU team and a team from the Air Transportable Telecommunications Unit followed. In all, Hercules from Nos 36 and 37 Squadrons made nine return flights from Australia (many with tourists stranded by the disaster), the Caribou did 48 sorties, while the helicopters flew 448 sorties totaling 159 hours.

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