Operation Queensland assist 17 operational update
31 March 2017
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) continues to assist the people and communities of North Queensland affected by Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
As the full impact of the Category 4 cyclone comes to light, the ADF is assisting the Queensland Government with domestic Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations utilising a range of air, land and sea capabilities to help the region recover quickly as possible.
Acting Chief of Joint Operations, Major General Stuart Smith said Joint Task Force 661 had been established to coordinate the ADF response to TC Debbie and the severe weather conditions that followed.
“The ADF now has approximately 1600 personnel attached to Operation QUEENSLAND ASSIST 17,” he said.
“Our role now is to bring to bear the ADF’s specialist capabilities in order to provide the best possible support to the Queensland Government and those affected in their time of need.”
As of 31 March 2017, the ADF had completed a range of support tasks including:
- Aerial surveillance of potentially affected areas. This task is ongoing and is being conducted by two RAAF King Air aircraft.
- An Army Chinook helicopter delivered medical personnel and supplies to Proserpine Hospital.
- HMAS Melville provided support to Daydream Island through the provision of two hundred 1.5 litre bottles of water. Melville has also been tasked to survey the maritime approaches to boat ramps at Hamilton Island, Airlie Beach and Conway Beach.
- The main body of the Engineer Support Force departed Lavarack Barracks Townsville for Bowen, Proserpine, Collinsville and Airlie Beach. Additional potable water assets have been deployed with this force.
- Four LCM8 landing craft with an Amphibious Beach Team and associated support equipment arrived at Bowen to commence beach survey and support.
- A Chinook helicopter delivered stores to, and recovered personnel from Daydream Island.
- Army heavy vehicles arrived in Bowen with 4000 litres of packaged water for distribution.
- A Preventative Medicine team was established in Bowen to commence medical support tasks.
HMAS Choules, which departed Brisbane late on the 30 March 2017, is expected to arrive in the region early tomorrow morning.
“HMAS Choules, is carrying significant HADR stores and engineer equipment and is expected to establish three disaster response sites inside the Whitsunday Island group,” Major General Smith said.
The ADF will continue to conduct tasks in order to support anticipated requests for assistance. This includes prepositioning of ADF force elements and surveying locations from which ADF support can be provided in affected areas, including remote centres.
Imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20170555