Townsville soldiers commence recovery tasking in Philippines
28 November 2013
Townsville-based soldiers from the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment (3CER) have hit the ground running in the Philippines, cleaning up the Cogon Central School in Ormoc that was severely damaged by Typhoon Haiyan.
After a day of offloading equipment, stores and personnel from HMAS Tobruk in an amphibious operation, the Officer Commanding the Recovery Support Force (RSF), Major Ken Golder, said the engineers had commenced their mission tasks with the clean up and restoration of the local school.
"Within 12 hours of having a meeting with the Department of Education and DFAT Aid, Australian soldiers have been able to start work to help the City of Ormoc," MAJ Golder said.
"Soldiers within the RSF are pleased to work with locals in rebuilding some community facilities.”
The RSF is made up of approximately 100 soldiers and engineer equipment and is able to conduct quick impact clean-up projects that aim to help local Philippine government recovery efforts.
Lance Corporal (LCPL) Dan Jarret, a section Second in Command, said that the assistance tasks fit well with the capabilities that 3CER can provide.
“Our Regiment is made up a number of different elements such as field engineers, tradies (electricians, plumbers and carpenters), and also plant operators that can use the bulldozers and excavators,” LCPL Jarret said.
“So we’re able to provide a good range of support on the ground for a variety of different tasks.”
Ms Nilda Dejano a local Barangay (District) Captain, in Ormoc city said she was very happy that Australian soldiers were helping them clean and fix the school.
“Thank you very much, and more power to you,” she said.
The Australian Joint Task Force will continue to determine future tasks in conjunction with the Government of the Philippines through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
HMAS Tobruk is currently anchored off the coast of the Philippines and is supporting recovery operations with amphibious and aviation elements.