The Australian Defence Force will today establish Operation NSW Flood Assist 21-1 as part of the Federal government’s response to the NSW flood emergency.
CAPTION: Leading Aircraftwoman Leah McDonald, from No. 22 Squadron, assists evacuee Ian Clucas at RAAF Base Richmond. Photo by Corporal Kylie Gibson.
ADF is supporting NSW government-led efforts with aerial search and rescue support, civilian evacuation operations, and preparing forces to assist in recovery operations.
ADF will initially deploy almost 300 personnel to support this operation, expanding to around 700 in coming days – including around 400 from Queensland.
Under this new operation, ADF rotary-wing aircraft, including three Army MRH-90 helicopters, will deploy from Sydney and Townsville on Thursday 25 March to supplement the two Navy helicopters from HMAS Albatross currently complementing search and rescue tasks.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said Defence assistance would be crucial in complementing the great work of NSW’s first responders and aiding in recovery efforts on the ground.
“Our men and women of the ADF have expertise and assets that will aid NSW in search-and-rescue efforts,” he said.
“When the immediate crisis has subsided, ADF capabilities and muscle will be key in helping communities recover.
“We are proud to be able to support NSW in this way.”
Acting Minister for Defence Marise Payne said substantial ADF capabilities were preparing to join this operation over the coming days, expanding on the support that commenced on Tuesday.
“When the flood waters subside, the Army emergency support force will be able to assist with tasks such as clearing debris, sandbagging, clean-up duties and helping restore essential services such as electricity and water,” she said.
“Once again our ADF personnel have stepped-up in Australia’s time of need, just like they did during the Black Summer bushfires and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Yesterday, RAAF Base Richmond commenced supporting the Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service to evacuate residents from the Colo River region.
This support included providing civilian aircraft with access to base facilities, air-traffic control, aircraft handling and refuelling services, and escorting evacuees to evacuation centres.