By MALINDA KALE
LIEUTENANT Georgina Tebegetu, one of two female officers among the 100-strong contingent which left for Australia yesterday, promises to do her best to help the people affected by the bushfires.
“It is very challenging for me but I will do my best and I know that whatever we will do in Australia will be helpful to the people (there),” she said.
Tebegetu and Second Lieutenant Sherwin Pohonai were among the 100-strong contingent of engineers and support staff farewelled by Prime Minister James Marape at Jackson Airport yesterday.
They will spend at least three months clearing roads and bridges to be used by firefighters to reach areas affected by the bushfires.
The duration of their stay will be extended if Australia wants it.
Tebegetu, 27, from the Engineering Battalion based at the Igam Barracks in Lae, welcomed the opportunity to be one of the female officers selected to assist the Australian Defence Force and the people of Australia.
The contingent is the biggest to be sent overseas to provide humanitarian assistance.
Defence Force commander Major-General Gilbert Toropo said the contingent would work in impacted areas, especially in Victoria.
“This is history in the making.
“Australia has always been very responsive in assisting PNG during natural disasters – earthquakes, cyclones, volcanic eruptions,” he said. “But this is the first time PNG is able to assist our closest friend Australia affected by the bushfires.”
Defence Minister Saki Solomon said PNG owed Australia a lot.
“If there is one (country) to assist Australia, it is PNG,” he said.
By MALINDA KALE