The Australian Defence Force has established a Joint Task Force in response to a request from the Northern Territory government for further assistance to aid recovery efforts in the cyclone-affected communities of Darwin and Palmerston.
CAPTION: Members of 1st Combat Engineer Regiment from 1st Brigade, Darwin clean up Wulagi Primary School after Cyclone Marcus. Photo by Leading Seaman James Whittle.
Tropical Cyclone Marcus hit the area on Saturday 17 March – 1 Brigade soldiers and US Marines were photographed at work in the community on Monday 19 March and this press release was received on 23 March at 5pm (after normal business hours on a Friday!).
The JTF (with no number given) consists of more than 400 locally-based Navy, Army and Air Force personnel and is commanded by 1st Brigade’s Brigadier Matt Pearse.
Approximately 50 US Marines, already in Darwin preparing for the arrival of the 2018 Marine rotation, have joined their ADF counterparts to assist with the post-cyclone clean-up.
The additional assistance expands on the immediate response undertaken by 1st Brigade and the US Marines following the category two cyclone.
Brigadier Pearse said the JTF would provide additional muscle to the NT government’s clean-up efforts.
“The soldiers, sailors and airmen and women are very much part of the Top End community,” Brigadier Pearse said.
“We are proud to be doing our bit, alongside the outstanding teams from the Northern Territory government and city councils of Darwin and Palmerston, to help our communities clean-up after Cyclone Marcus.
“With the formation of Tropical Cyclone Nora in the Timor Sea, ADF personnel and US Marines are working with council staff to assist the clean-up around schools and roads to reduce the risk of fallen trees becoming missiles should another cyclone hit the Darwin area.
“Our priorities match those of the Northern Territory government and city councils, to ensure current hazards don’t become greater ones.”