Army Reservists from across New South Wales have begun the huge task of cleaning up the flood devastated region of Lismore, in coordination with state emergency services. 

Parts of the city resembled a war zone as the record flood waters receded, destroying the interiors of many downtown stores.

Reservist soldiers from the Sydney-based 5th Engineer Regiment (5 ER) went downtown to help locals remove flood damaged items from their businesses.

Sapper Ethan O’Connell from 5 ER says the Lismore locals were very thankful for their efforts.

“A lot of it has been basic lifting, but also people have just needed someone to talk to,” Sapper O’Connell said.

“There’s a lot of people in town who are just one person in their shop and they can’t clean the store themselves and that’s what we’re here to do.”

Sapper Matthew Cheyne, also from 5 ER,  was happy to be able to lend a hand the locals, many of them exhausted from hours of clean up.

“The locals are really grateful that we’re here and able to assist them,” he said.

“They’ve been working hard for a few days and it’s been really good to be able to get in and continue their hard work.”

Army soldiers load crates of fresh food onto an MRH-90 helicopter, ready for delivery to areas of Northern NSW affected by floods. Photo: Corporal Dustin Anderson. 

Operations officer for the 41st Battalion, the Royal New South Wales Regiment, Major Alexander Rubin says helping Lismore would benefit the surrounding region.

“Lismore is a central hub that distributes food, fuel and other essential resources,” Major Rubin said.

“By getting the Lismore CBD on its feet, we can better support the outlying areas which is our focus in the next stage of recovery.”

With some towns still isolated days after flood levels receded, reservists from 41st Royal New South Wales Regiment helped ensure outlying towns received emergency food supplies.

“We have teams out at the helicopter landing zones at Casino which is the food distribution point,” Major Rubin said.

“As our Army MRH-90 helicopters land, our teams are currently loading those and assisting the Army aviators get that food dropped out to those remote areas.”

Imagery from Operation Flood Assist 2022 is available on the Defence image gallery