New Zealand navy Pacific disaster drill to involve 14 nations

Xinhua    2014-04-18 10:54:46

  WELLINGTON, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Five military ships and about 600 military personnel from 13 nations will join New Zealand forces this month in an exercise to test New Zealand's readiness to help its Pacific neighbors after a natural disaster, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) announced Wednesday.

  The exercise to be held in Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf, in the upper east of the North Island, from Feb. 17 to March 7 and would include forces from Australia, China, France, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and the United States, said a statement from the NZDF.

  The Royal New Zealand Navy was organizing the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), which would be the largest naval exercise hosted by New Zealand in decades, it said.

  The training scenario was set in the fictional and remote South Pacific island nation of the Barclay Islands after a devastating 8. 9-magnitude earthquake and a powerful tsunami.

  Key shipping channels into the capital would be cut off and mines and explosive remnants dating from World War II would litter coastal waters.

  The scenario would see a multinational task force led by New Zealand personnel deployed to create new shipping routes to undamaged coastal areas so that humanitarian aid and disaster relief supplies could be delivered.