16 Aug 2010

Joint NZ aid and military operation helps Tuvalu prepare for natural disaster

11:13 am on 16 August 2010

New Zealand says the joint aid and military operation in Tuvalu last month has helped it improve its ability to respond to a regional natural disaster.

New Zealand's aid agency NZAid combined with its Defence Force for the annual Tropic Twilight exercise, this year in Tuvalu.

It was a two-pronged exercise: testing the response to a natural disaster such as a cyclone or tsunami, and secondly, delivering a series of aid programmes to Tuvalu.

NZAid's Richard Dirks says being able to test the cohesion between key agencies is invaluable.

"We always work really closely when natural disasters do occur. Just ramping up our engagement around planning is really valuable. The Ministry of Health were also involved, we had other agencies come with us, New Zealand Police. So us being able to test this means we'll be able to provide a much more seamless response in the case of disaster events in the Pacific."

He says Tuvalu now has a disaster management plan which has been well tested and updated.