Royal Australian Air Force air movements teams from No. 23 Squadron are playing a vital part in the Australian Defence Force’s support to Tonga following the January 15 volcanic eruption and tsunami.

The first humanitarian supplies provided to Tonga as part of the Australian Government’s response have already arrived.

An RAAF C-17A Globemaster III aircraft carrying the humanitarian supplies departed RAAF Base Amberley and touched down at Fua’amotu international airport on January 20.

No. 23 Squadron air movements personnel and Air Mobility Group aviators and aircraft were at the centre of the initial response.

Flying Officer Jorge Elosegui Guerra, from Air Movement Detachment Amberley, coordinates the teams loading and unloading the cargo from the aircraft.

“The first aircraft was loaded with water containers, food supplies, construction materials for temporary shelters, generators, medical supplies and communication equipment,” Flying Officer Elosegui Guerra said.

“It is a huge honour to be part of the team supporting one of our Pacific families during their time of need.

“We have an opportunity to contribute to the wellbeing of the Tongan community and we’re all motivated to doing our best to ensuring all cargo is prepared efficiently and effectively with no delays to the aircraft departure.”

Over the coming days, as the disaster relief effort ramps up, No 23 Squadron personnel will continue to work with Air Mobility Group to ensure all requirements are met and there is maximum use of the space available within the aircraft.