A new, extremely virulent strain of H1N1 emerging from India has entered the country via infected tourists. The disease is spreads extremely rapidly affecting humans and dogs. The disease has spread globally despite a lock down on air travel from the sub-continent. Mortality rates are 20%. So far 250 people have died and 11,000 have been affected. There is a high degree of uncertainty and confusion and the Government has declared a state of emergency.
Role of the armed forces
The role of the armed forces in this situation is to assist civilian agencies. It is not to impose martial law and take over the country.
1) The field hospital can contribute field triage and mortuary services
2) Military Police are available to support the NZ Police by providing extra staff under NZ Police direction
3) Motorised Battalion and Pioneers can build quarantine checkpoints if needed to control movement
4) Coastguard and academy aircraft can distribute supplies
Once again the contribution from the defence force is relatively minor. Civilian authorities are better placed to direct the government response.