New Zealand has deployed a New Zealand Defence Force P3 Orion this morning to undertake aerial surveillance of the Cyclone Harold damage in Vanuatu.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters also announced $500,000 in funding to help the Government of Vanuatu to procure relief items and assess needs and impacts, and for the release of essential relief items already available on the ground.

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These are held in partnership with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Vanuatu.


"Assessment of the damage is ongoing, and we will consider any further assistance if requested from the Government of Vanuatu," Peters said in a statement.

"We are aware that the Government of Vanuatu is running a 'keep it out' strategy, and we will give serious consideration to ensure that any response to the cyclone does not lead to the spread of Covid-19 to Vanuatu."

Peters said it was an initial package of support.

"Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a category 5 cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts of Covid-19.

"Early reports show Tropical Cyclone Harold has caused major damage to homes, public buildings, infrastructure, telecommunications networks and crops."