Australian Defence Force assistance to Cyclone Yasi cleanup

More than 1200 Aus­tralian Defence Force per­son­nel have been direct­ly assist­ing Queens­land Emer­gency Ser­vices in its response to areas affect­ed by Trop­i­cal Cyclone Yasi.
In the after­math of the cyclone, Emer­gency Man­age­ment Queens­land request­ed the ADF to assist with clear­ing road access to affect­ed areas, deliv­ery of emer­gency food and water, mak­ing pub­lic spaces safe, and assist­ing where prac­ti­ca­ble in the restora­tion of crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture.

Com­man­der of the ADF’s Oper­a­tion YASI ASSIST, Brigadier Stu­art Smith, said that Aus­tralian Defence Force per­son­nel had achieved the tasks set for them and suc­cess­ful­ly pro­vid­ed spe­cial­ist sup­port to the emer­gency ser­vices per­son­nel who are now well under­way in assist­ing the com­mu­ni­ties dev­as­tat­ed by the cat­e­go­ry 5 cyclone. 

“From the day after the cyclone hit, the sailors, sol­diers and air­crew of the Task Force have worked tire­less­ly in apply­ing their spe­cial­ist skills to assist the emer­gency ser­vices and the peo­ple affect­ed,” said Brigadier Smith. 

“Emer­gency ser­vices and pub­lic util­i­ties have oth­er restora­tion tasks well in hand for those areas hard­est hit by the cyclone.” 

Brigadier Smith has been meet­ing reg­u­lar­ly with local author­i­ties and said that it was now clear that crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture such as pub­lic roads, water, sew­er­age treat­ment and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions had been restored to the major­i­ty of areas affect­ed by the cyclone. 

“In addi­tion to sup­port­ing the rebuild­ing of crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture and clear­ing over 250km of road, the ADF removed some 250 tonnes of debris from pub­lic areas and assist­ed in clear­ing the prop­er­ties of elder­ly res­i­dents who were not able to do so them­selves,” said Brigadier Smith. 

“In direct sup­port of emer­gency ser­vices and using trucks, ships and air­craft we have deliv­ered over 300 tonnes of car­go, includ­ing 200 tonnes of emer­gency food and water sup­plies, two mil­i­tary 16KVA and five civil­ian 3.5KVA gen­er­a­tors and oth­er engi­neer­ing plant and equip­ment to the affect­ed region.

“Many of the troops who oper­at­ed with the Task Force live and train in North­ern Queens­land and rel­ished the oppor­tu­ni­ty to sup­port the local com­mu­ni­ty in their time of need — indeed many of the troops have not been home to check and clean their own homes affect­ed by the cyclone.” 

Giv­en the improv­ing sit­u­a­tion and the capac­i­ty of the civil­ian author­i­ties, the ADF will look to scale back oper­a­tions over the com­ing days 

The ADF is con­tin­u­al­ly review­ing the sit­u­a­tion with Queens­land and Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment agen­cies and remains ready and able to assist, as required. 

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

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