The Australian Defence Force is well prepared to support Queensland emergency services and the communities which may be affected by Tropical Cyclone Debbie, which is expected to make landfall early tomorrow morning.
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin said Defence was well positioned to provide immediate assistance to local communities within the storm zone in coordination with state and local disaster management authorities, if requested.
“Australian Defence Force personnel are highly trained, well equipped and experienced in providing assistance to Australian communities affected by natural disasters,” Air Chief Marshal Binskin said
“We are ready and able to respond to this emergency in support of civilian emergency authorities and the residents of north eastern Queensland once the full impact of Debbie is known.
“As a precaution HMAS Choules, the nominated HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) ship, departed Sydney this morning and is heading north to Queensland to be ready to support recovery efforts if required,” Air Chief Marshal Binskin said.
Two Navy MRH90 Helicopters have deployed to Oakey and are ready to provide immediate support in addition to the existing Army rotary wing aircraft already in Townsville.
Air Force aircraft in Townsville, Amberley and Darwin are on standby to provide airlift capability for the delivery of essential stores and equipment as well as wide area surveillance.
A Joint Task Force, primarily made up of personnel and engineering equipment from the Townsville based 3 Brigade, is prepared to provide support within the region.
“Joint Task Force 661 will be well positioned to supplement a range of state disaster response options, including; aeromedical evacuation, search and rescue, road clearance, restoration of essential services, emergency accommodation and the delivery of stores,” Major General Smith said.
Defence liaison officers are now working within various Queensland Government agencies to ensure a rapid ADF response, if requested.