Australia — ADF Joint Task Force completes its Cyclone Yasi cleanup mission

The Aus­tralian Defence Force (ADF) has drawn down its forces pro­vid­ing sup­port to the Queens­land emer­gency ser­vices-led response and recov­ery oper­a­tions in the wake of Trop­i­cal Cyclone Yasi.
The mem­bers of Joint Task Force 664 are now return­ing to their home units as the cleanup and recon­struc­tion sit­u­a­tion in North Queens­land moves into its next phase.

The rapid nation­wide response fol­low­ing Cyclone Yasi saw approx­i­mate­ly 1500 ADF per­son­nel work­ing to assist affect­ed com­mu­ni­ties and the state emer­gency ser­vices. Per­son­nel and equip­ment from the Navy, Army and Air Force pro­vid­ed man­pow­er and spe­cial­ist capa­bil­i­ties in response to the needs of the peo­ple of North Queens­land.

The Com­man­der of the Joint Task Force 664 lead­ing the ADF’s Oper­a­tion YASI ASSIST, Brigadier Stu­art Smith, said that Aus­tralian Defence Force per­son­nel had suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed the tasks request­ed of them by civil­ian author­i­ties, includ­ing pro­vid­ing spe­cial­ist sup­port to emer­gency ser­vices per­son­nel.

“Emer­gency ser­vices and pub­lic util­i­ties have future restora­tion tasks well in hand for those areas hard­est hit by the cyclone,” Brigadier Smith said.

Troops from Townsville are return­ing to their base to regroup for rapid response readi­ness, and some will be prepar­ing for deploy­ment to Afghanistan lat­er this year. Brigadier Smith said their fam­i­lies would wel­come their return.

“Many per­son­nel deployed to assist as the winds abat­ed, and haven’t been home since the cyclone struck – they’ve real­ly earned some time at home with their loved ones,” he said. Brigadier Smith expressed his admi­ra­tion for the tenac­i­ty of the North Queens­lan­ders affect­ed by the cyclone.

“The peo­ple of the region face a chal­leng­ing time ahead, but as a com­mu­ni­ty they will rebuild their homes, their com­mu­ni­ties and their lives. The resilience of the local peo­ple is out­stand­ing – I great­ly admire their spir­it.”

The deci­sion to draw down the ADF assis­tance came after close con­sul­ta­tion with Emer­gency Man­age­ment Queens­land (EMQ), state author­i­ties and local offi­cials in the affect­ed areas. EMQ con­tin­ues to pro­vide assis­tance to the com­mu­ni­ties dev­as­tat­ed by the cyclone, and ADF spe­cial­ist sup­port will remain at local bases to assist emer­gency ser­vices if required.

A sup­port­ing fact­sheet can be found at:
http://www.defence.gov.au/op/yasiassist/

Media con­tact:
Defence Media Oper­a­tions 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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