The Joint Task Force leading the Australian Defence Force rescue and relief effort in response to the devastating Queensland floods concluded operations yesterday and the mission has now transitioned to one of recovery.
The ADF continues to provide specialist support to Queensland flood areas and is further engaged in providing aid to northern and central Queensland in the wake of Cyclone Yasi. Established on New Year’s Day at the request of Emergency Management Australia, Joint Task Force (JTF) 637 provided essential support to the flood response efforts in various areas throughout the state.
Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Mark Evans said approximately 1900 ADF personnel completed tasks ranging from general clean-up operations, search and rescue tasks and liaison duties during the operation, but emphasised that the public will still see Service personnel providing recovery assistance in southern Queensland.
“Whilst Operation Queensland Flood Assist and its focus on initial flood rescue and relief assistance has been completed, ADF engineering and aerial survey elements will remain in support of emergency management authorities to assist those communities where recovery efforts are beyond the current capacity of local councils,” Lt Gen Evans said. “Like the rest of the State agencies, the tasks performed by our ADF personnel over the past month have been many and varied.
“Our aviation units flew about 470 hours and evacuated more than 300 residents, while our fixed wing and rotary aircraft have moved 1.5 million kg of cargo, enabling vital food and personnel transfers,” Lt Gen Evans said.
“Our sea-going units have surveyed the channels and anchorages of Moreton Bay as well as the Brisbane River, enabling vital commercial shipping to re-enter the waterway.”
Lt Gen Evans said Defence personnel worked tirelessly in difficult conditions all across the state conducting general clean-up duties in hundreds of streets, businesses and houses. “A team of Army engineers using their equipment and specialist skills provided important assistance with creek re-direction and removing heavy debris.”
The engineer element remaining is commanded by the Army’s 6th Engineer Support Regiment and includes more than 400 ADF personnel from Queensland and New South Wales. The aerial survey element remaining on station is a B-350 King Air and associated crew. These tasks are expected to conclude in mid February.
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