The National Monday, December 13, 2010
By JEFFREY ELAPA
THE French government has come to the aid of the people of Western when it sent one of its air force planes to airlift 2.8 tonnes of cholera medicines to Daru yesterday.
The French Air Force plane flew from Noumea to Port Moresby to airlift the medical supplies on the request of the PNGDF air force commanding officer Major John Matlock with consultation with the office of Western governor Dr Bob Danaya, the French Embassy and the Health department.
Matlock said that the French military and the PNGDF hierarchy planned to hold a high profile military meeting this month but that had now been deferred.
He said although the meeting was cancelled, the military plane was scheduled to fly to PNG and then to Australia, therefore, the PNGDF air squadron decided to use the opportunity to assist with the airlifting of the medical supplies for Daru as the office of the governor and the Health Department had earlier requested for the delivery.
French Ambassador Alain Waquet who was at the military airbase at Jacksons Airport to fly to Daru with the drugs, said that France was happy to assist with the delivery on humanitarian grounds.
He said he would also meet with the “doctors without borders” who are now assisting with the cholera outbreak in Daru.
Danaya, who was also at the airport, thanked the government through ambassador Waquet for arranging for the medical supplies.
“On behalf of my people, I’m so grateful to the French government and the French embassy in Port Moresby for responding quickly to assist the people.
“It took only two days to respond after a formal request was sent to them last Friday,” he said.
Department of Health national surveillance adviser and national cholera coordinator Berry Ropa said that the first lot of supplies cost the department K35,000.
The plane flew for six hours from Noumea to Port Moresby.