Following another round of devastating flooding in the Hawkesbury region, Defence has deployed 250 personnel in response to requests for support from Emergency Management Australia.
Navy, Army and Air Force personnel are assisting New South Wales Emergency Services with restoring road access, cleaning and removing damaged and destroyed property.
One group was sent to assist local emergency services in the areas around Pitt Town and Windsor – a low-lying region which had become heavily impacted by the floodwater.
By door-knocking, members were able to ascertain which properties required the most assistance, and collate this into a sophisticated map, categorising individual properties based on flood impact.
Intelligence was gathered quickly and the most urgent tasks were prioritised, followed by the clean-up and debris removal.
David Ryan, leading coordination and prioritisation of tasks through the State Emergency Operations Centre for the Rural Fire Service, said he was seeing an exceptional level of assistance from the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
“We have been working very closely with the ADF for the past few days – everyone involved has done an exceptional job and are fulfilling the tasks I have set them,” Mr Ryan said.
“They are not only happy to do the tough and dirty jobs, but they are putting their hands up for it.”
The local officer in charge, Squadron Leader Andrew Clark, said working together for the community was valuable not only to the emergency services, but also to the local residents.
“We are very keen to offer what support we can to help get these communities back on their feet,” Squadron Leader Clark said.
“We have Army, Navy and Air Force personnel here, all working together for a common cause; to assist the emergency services with two feet and a heartbeat.”
In response to requests from NSW Emergency Services through Emergency Management Australia, Defence is supporting the State Government’s response to flooding in NSW.
Defence personnel have removed 48.5 tonnes of debris from more than 200 properties in the North Sydney area and more than 7 tonnes of rubbish from Broke and Wollombi.
ADF support is being coordinated and prioritised through the State Emergency Operations Centre.