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Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston has announced that a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17A Globemaster and a C-130J Hercules have departed from Darwin to transport an Australian Medical Assistance Team (AusMAT) to the Philippines to give support following the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

The heavy lift aircraft will transport the civilian medical team and 22 tonnes of associated equipment to Mactan Air Field on Cebu. Once in Cebu the C-130J Hercules will transfer the medical team to Tacloban. The aircraft are departing following confirmation of an operating location for the medical team at Tacloban airport.

"The RAAF's C-17A Globemasters provide an experienced and important capability when responding to disasters in our region. Sadly, our ability to respond rapidly has been called on in tragic circumstances in recent years to support missions following the tsunami in Japan and the Christchurch earthquake," Senator Johnston said.

"The C-17A Globemaster and C-130J Hercules will be supported by a RAAF Mobile Air Load Team (MALT), an Aircraft Security Operations Team and Aeromedical Evacuation specialists. These personnel will be responsible for enabling the delivery of the medical specialists and their equipment to the Philippines," he said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are deploying crisis response specialists and consular staff with the AusMAT team into the worst affected areas.

This will include an additional two Rapid Response Team personnel to support humanitarian assistance, and two Emergency Response Team officers to assist the Australian Embassy, Manila with the consular response.

Defence stands ready to respond to any further request for assistance.