A joint New Zealand-Chinese exercise about to begin in Vanuatu will build health facilities in villages on Efate.

New Zealand High Commissioner Jonathan Schwass said the work would be carried out under Exercise Tropic Twilight by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

“Engineers from the two forces will work together on Efate to construct staff houses for the Mele and Erakor Health Centres and an aid post in Eratap Village.

“We’re very pleased to have this opportunity to work alongside China on such a positive project,” Mr Schwass said.

At the same time, New Zealand Defence Force medical and dental teams will deliver dental services and health education to communities on Epi Island.

All the projects to be carried out were identified in consultation with the Vanuatu Ministry of Health.

This is the third year that New Zealand and China have worked together in Exercise Tropic Twilight, which New Zealand leads each year in different Pacific locations.

“Tropic Twilight tests NZDF’s ability to work in the Pacific region on community assistance and disaster relief operations,” Mr Schwass said. “The aim is to build resilience in the South West Pacific through building infrastructure and developing relationships with host and partner nation security forces.”

This year’s exercise will take place from 10 to 27 May.

Tropic Twilight projects are funded by the New Zealand Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Aid Programme. This year’s exercise in Vanuatu has also been supported with a funding contribution from the Chinese Government.

Source: NZHC