After assisting thousands of residents and business owners in some of the hardest-hit flood-affected communities in New South Wales, Australian Defence Force’s Operation NSW Flood Assist 21-1 is winding down.
CAPTION: An Australian Army soldier deployed on Operation NSW Flood Assist walks between debris from flood damage in Wisemans Ferry, New South Wales. Photo by Corporal Sagi Biederman.
The New South Wales government requested assistance from the ADF on 22 March to help in the emergency response and recovery efforts after last month’s floods, particularly in communities on the state’s mid-north coast.
At its peak, around 850 Army, Navy and Air Force personnel were assigned to the operation, supporting recovery efforts in and around Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Nambucca, Kempsey, Port Macquarie, Taree and the Hawkesbury Nepean.
Commander of the ADF Joint Task Group for NSW Brigadier Mick Garraway said it was an enormous privilege to be able to help out in some small way, whether removing debris, clearing roads or clearing other flood and storm damage to support access to critical infrastructure or essential services.
“We’ve worked closely with Resilience NSW and other state agencies to ensure that our resources have been directed to areas most in need,” Brigadier Garraway said.
“Our mission was to set the conditions for deeper state-led recovery efforts.”
As the remaining relief tasks on the ground are completed, Brigadier Garraway expressed his appreciation for the way Defence personnel were welcomed into communities.
“I want to thank these communities for the friendship and support they’ve shown our members, particularly given the hardship and losses many of them have faced.”
Defence personnel assisted state-led aerial evacuation operations; removed 900 tonnes of waste from homes, properties and businesses; checked, cleared and reopened 170 kilometres of roads; returned several jetties and piers to workable conditions; transported hundreds of litres of water and thousands of litres of fuel; and, delivered 650 kilograms of fodder to local farmers.