3 Mar 2023

US sending technical experts to help cyclone recovery efforts

8:02 pm on 3 March 2023
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US Ambassador Tom Udall says he had been moved by the way New Zealanders have responded and rallied together. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The United States is sending 12 technical experts to New Zealand to help with the recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle.

Ambassador Tom Udall said the team would support efforts already underway and provide opportunities for crews to rest and regroup.

The members of the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance team were experienced disaster relief professionals, Udall said.

The ambassador sent his condolences to those affected and said he had been moved by the way New Zealanders had responded and rallied together.

"The devastating impact is hard to get your head around, but the resilience of New Zealanders is absolutely extraordinary. There is such camaraderie and a real sense of community," Udall said.

"My expectation is that our team will become part of that community when they arrive during the next few days."

The countries had a history of helping and supporting each other in difficult times, he said.

"The friendship between our two countries is long-standing and when disaster strikes we are there for one another.

"USAID teams came to help after the Christchurch earthquake and the USS Sampson helped to get supplies ashore following the Kaikōura earthquake.

"The HMNZS Te Kaha was offered to take the place of USS Fitzgerald when that ship suffered a collision at sea claiming the lives of seven US sailors. When wildfires break out in the United States, Kiwi firefighters are the always the first ones to get on a plane."

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