Operation Flood Assist 2022 – Update

CAPTION: Royal Australian Navy sailor Able Seaman Clearance Diver Jake Phillips prepares to survey ferry terminal pylons along the Brisbane River as part of Operation Flood Assist 2022. Photo by Corporal Julia Whitwell.

Last updated: 08:00am Thursday, March 10, 2022. 

Defence support to Queensland and NSW governments is being delivered under Operation Flood Assist 2022 and coordinated through Headquarters Joint Operations Command.  Deployment of forces is in response to NSW Government and Queensland Government requirements coordinated and prioritised through State Emergency Operations Centres.

Personnel supporting (approximate):

Currently there are 5748 personnel on task or available for tasking across NSW and Queensland.

   
  • Total personnel deployed on task in Queensland: more than 1250
  • Total personnel deployed on task in New South Wales: more than 4450
    • more than 2900 in northern New South Wales
    • more than 1500 in Sydney basin

Tasks planned for Thursday, March 10:

Ongoing tasks:

  • Defence continues its efforts to support the Queensland and NSW governments across a range of search and rescue, clean up and recovery tasks.

In Queensland:

  • Continuation of clean-up efforts in Queensland:in Gympie, Gatton, St Lucia, Fairfield, Graceville, Rocklea, Gatton, Grantham and Goodna.
  • Royal Australian Navy vessel HMAS Shepparton and Clearance Diving Team Four continued surveying and assisting to clear Brisbane River and Moreton Bay of submerged obstacles.

In New South Wales:

  • Continuation of clean-up efforts in towns across northern NSW, including Lismore, Cabbage Tree Island, Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Murwillumbah, Port Macquarie, Tweed Heads–Byron Bay, Wallum and Woodburn.
  • 500 personnel camp construction to commence in vicinity of Lismore.
  • Conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance surveillance of flood-damaged regions.
  • Defence establishments in Sydney basin will reach out to identify opportunities to support local councils and emergency services.

On Wednesday, March 9:

In Queensland:

  • Continuation of clean-up efforts in Queensland:in Gympie, Gatton, St Lucia, Fairfield, Graceville, Rocklea, Gatton, Grantham and Goodna.
  • ADF footprint was expanded on the ground to meet the needs of more communities.
  • Support to the Brisbane City Council kerbside rubbish collection efforts.
  • Royal Australian Navy vessel HMAS Shepparton and Clearance Diving Team Four continued surveying and assisting to clear Brisbane River and Moreton Bay of submerged obstacles.
  • ADF personnel continued to support Queensland State Emergency Service (SES).
  • Defence personnel continued to be embedded in the State Disaster Coordination Centre (SDCC) and the District Disaster Coordination Cells (DDCC) at Gympie, Gold Coast and Ipswich, as well as Brisbane Local Disaster Coordination Cell.
  • Nine helicopters were based out of Oakey to support south-eastern Queensland and northern NSW with taskings including search and rescue, aerial reconnaissance, food and stores distribution, patient transfer and logistics support (4x MRH-90, 2x Army Chinook CH-47F, 2x AW-139. 1x Chinook CH-47F from Singapore Armed Forces).

In New South Wales:

  • Continuation of clean-up efforts in towns across northern NSW, including Lismore, Cabbage Tree Island, Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Murwillumbah, Port Macquarie, Tweed Heads–Byron Bay, Wallum and Woodburn.
  • ADF heavy plant equipment operations continued in Lismore.
  • Limited helicopter operations continued in support of Northern NSW, due to pending severe weather.
  • ADF personnel continued to support NSW SES aviation food and water-drop operations to isolated housing and communities.
  • Conducted intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance surveillance of flood-damaged regions.
  • ADF personnel continued to assist with reconnaissance and food distribution in areas south of Casino.
  • P-8 Poseidon aerial reconnaissance of flood Sydney Basin Area.
  • Members from the ADF Dive School yesterday rescued a sinking small boat which would have become a navigational hazard in Sydney Harbour.
  • An MRH-90 helicopter conducted reconnaissance of the Sydney basin, focusing on Camden, Nepean Valley, Penrith, Richmond/Windsor and Chipping North areas.
  • Six littoral flood assessment teams conducted proactive reconnaissance/survey of the Hawkesbury River from Mooney Mooney Bridge.
  • Two Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopters and one commercially contracted AW-139 helicopter are located at HMAS Albatross in Nowra for search and rescue operations in day and night conditions in the greater Sydney and the South Coast region.

On Tuesday, March 8:

In Queensland:

  • Continuation of clean-up efforts in Amberley, Ashgrove, Bundamba, Burpengary, Chelmer, Esk, Fairfield, Gatton, Goodna, Graceville, Grantham, Gympie, Redcliffe, Rocklea, St Lucia and Rocklea.
  • ADF personnel supported Queensland SES aviation food and water-drop operations to isolated housing and communities.

In New South Wales:

  • Continued clean-up efforts in 14 towns in northern NSW, including Lismore, Port Macquarie, Grafton, Tweed Heads, Crabbes Creek, Ocean Shores and Chinderah.
  • Australian Army and Singapore Armed Forces CH-47F Chinook helicopters airlifted ADF personnel from Brisbane to several northern NSW towns, including Broadwater, Coraki and Woodburn.
  • ADF personnel supported New South Wales SES aviation food and water-drop operations to isolated housing and communities.
  • ADF personnel continued to support Telstra in restoring communication services in Grafton.
  • ADF personnel provided assistance to Evans Head evacuation centres.

On Monday, March 7:

In Queensland:

  • Continuation of clean-up efforts in Bundamba, Esk, Fairfield, Gatton, Goodna, Graceville, Grantham, Gympie, Rocklea, St Lucia and Rocklea.
  • ADF personnel began clean-up efforts in Amberley, Ashgrove, Burpengary, Chelmer and Redcliffe.
  • ADF personnel supported Queensland SES aviation food and water-drop operations to isolated housing and communities.

In New South Wales:

  • Continued clean-up efforts in 14 towns in northern NSW, including Lismore, Port Macquarie, Grafton, Tweed Heads, Crabbes Creek, Ocean Shores and Chinderah.
  • ADF personnel provided food, water and conducted supply drops in isolated communities including Cawonga, Grafton, Lawrence, Lismore, Maclean, Tumbulgum, Wardall and Woodburn.
  • Australian Army and Singapore Armed Forces CH-47F Chinook helicopters airlifted ADF personnel from Brisbane to several northern NSW towns, including Broadwater, Burwood and Coraki.
  • ADF personnel supported New South Wales SES aviation food and water-drop operations to isolated housing and communities.
  • ADF personnel assisted with food distribution in Casino.
  • ADF personnel continued to support Telstra in restoring communication services in Grafton.
  • ADF personnel conducted welfare checks and debris clearance at Murwillumbah, and welfare checks to Upper Wilson’s Creek, Main Arm and Repentance Creek.
  • MRH-90 Taipan helicopters conducted food distribution in Lismore and Woodburn, and other flood assistance tasks in Mullumbimby before returning to Oakey due to severe weather.

On Sunday, March 6:

​​​​​​In Queensland:

  • ADF personnel continued clean-up efforts in Gympie, Gatton, St Lucia, Fairfield, Graceville, Rocklea, Esk, Gatton, Grantham and Goodna.
  • Defence personnel are embedded in the State Disaster Coordination Centre (SDCC) and the District Disaster Coordination Cells (DDCC) at Gympie, Gold Coast and Ipswich, as well as Brisbane Local Disaster Coordination Cell.

In New South Wales:

  • Continuation of clean-up efforts in Lismore, Port Macquarie, Grafton, Tweed Heads, Crabbes Creek, Ocean Shores and Chinderah.
  • An ADF MRH-90 Taipan helicopter conducted food distribution in the Lismore region and ADF personnel picked-up and delivered baby formula to Lismore regional areas.
  • ADF personnel conducted welfare checks and debris clearance at Main Arm, Murwillumbah, Repentance Creek and Upper Wilson’s Creek.
  • ADF personnel assisted with food distribution in Casino.
  • ADF personnel continued to support Telstra in restoring communication services in Grafton.
  • Contracted heavy plant equipment arrived in Lismore to support ADF clean-up operations.

On Saturday, March 5: 

  • Continuation of clean-up efforts in NSW: Lismore, Port Macquarie, Grafton, Tweed Heads, Crabbes Creek, Ocean Shores and Chinderah.
  • Conducted extensive route clearance and reconnaissance operations in vicinity of Lismore, Woodburn, Nimbin, Kyogle.
  • Continuation of clean-up efforts in Queensland: Gympie, Gatton, St Lucia, Fairfield, Graceville, Rocklea, Esk, Gatton, Grantham and Goodna.
  • ADF personnel conducted food drops to isolated communities including Mullumbimby, Murwillumbah, Crabbes Creek, Ocean Shores, Wardell, Kyogle, Nimbin, Bonalbo, Urbenville, Woddenbong, Tuntable, Tabulam, Tumbulgum, Corakai and Woodburn.
  • Operated a helicopter landing zone at the Casino food distribution point and a reception party for medical evacuations.
  • ADF personnel distributed baby formula to Kyogle and bottled water to Tumbulgum.
  • Aviation support to south-east Queensland, northern NSW, and Sydney region including for search and rescue, medical evacuations and logistics support as required.
  • ADF supported NSW Police access to Grafton.
  • ADF assisted Telstra in restoration of critical communications infrastructure in Grafton.
  • Continued to transport logistics from Sydney into regional logistics hubs to support recovery.
  • Further moving reinforcements into Northern NSW including heavy plant, logistics, liaison officers and clean up personnel.

On Friday, March 4:

  • Defence continued its efforts in to support the Queensland and NSW governments across a range of clean up and recovery tasks.
  • Defence’s MRH-90 helicopters conducted tasks including evacuations, food distribution and transportation in Mullumbimby, Ballina, Casino, Coraki, Nimbin.
  • Additional plant equipment requested in Lismore.

On Thursday, March 3:

In Queensland:

  • 230 personnel commenced movements into Brisbane, Ipswich, Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley region today to support local authorities.

In New South Wales:

  • An additional 100 personnel from 1st Armoured Regiment in South Australia were deploying to the Coffs Harbour area. Personnel to remain postured to move further north to flood affected areas as flood waters recede and roads open.
  • Additional 5th Brigade emergency support force elements were deploying north to Grafton to remain postured to move further north once roads are opened and proved.
  • An ADF rescue team has deployed to Ballina with a 40M heavy duty truck to assist with ongoing evacuation tasks.
  • ADF continue to undertake search and rescue tasks in Tweed Heads and have delivered medical supplies to local SES.
  • Helicopter crews conducted seven missions across the region including the rescue people, including:
    • A Navy MH-60R Seahawk conducted a rescue of a woman and her two children from their flooded home in Werrington in Sydney’s west.
  • ADF personnel continue to ferry evacuees from the flood-hit area of Ulmarra, near Grafton.
  • ADF Liaison staff are now embedded within the State Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC) Homebush, SES HQ in Wollongong, Fire & Rescue New South Wales and Rural Fire Services.
  • Heavy and medium plant equipment was being postured to support recovery and clean-up activities when required by emergency management agencies. Deployment to likely required areas is currently being affected by the floods. Examples of plant equipment may include front end loaders, backhoes and excavators.

On Wednesday, March 2:

In Queensland:

  • An additional 550 personnel (approximate) were conducting preparation for tasking.
  • Defence adjusted its posture in response to the situation in northern NSW, and Bell 412 commercially-contracted helicopters from Oakey are now supporting the Brisbane basin.

In New South Wales:

  • Defence increased its support to NSW search and rescue efforts with four MRH-90 Taipan helicopters and one AW-139 helicopter.
  • Defence deployed an air-liaison team into the SES location in Wollongong.
  • Approximately 70 ADF personnel from Army’s 5th Brigade are undertaking a range of tasks in support of emergency services in Lismore, Coffs Harbour, Tweed Heads, Grafton and Murwillumbah, including sandbagging and evacuation support.
  • Helicopter crews conducted 11 missions across the region including the critical relocation of seven renal patients, transport of medical stores, equipment and food distribution.

On Tuesday, March 1:

In Queensland:

  • 25 Defence personnel were undertaking flood-relief tasks in Brisbane, with additional personnel conducting preparation.
  • Defence embedded staff in the State Disaster Coordination Centre and the State Disaster Mitigation Committee at Gympie, Brisbane City, Southport and Ipswich.
  • Army’s 7th Brigade deployed liaison officers and route recon teams into heavily affected areas, including Gympie, Brisbane City, Ipswich and Coolangatta in preparation for potential requests for assistance for ADF to assist with recovery and clean-up operations.
  • Darwin’s 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, provided short-notice support to flood-affected aged-care facilities in Yeronga, The Gap, Lutwyche, Mitchelton and Tallebudgera.
    • Four general-duties teams of ADF personnel were deployed to assist with flood evacuation and clean-up efforts, in addition to the existing five teams already assisting aged-care facilities as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist.

In New South Wales:

  • Defence continued providing emergency support to the NSW State Emergency Service in flood-affected areas in several areas of northern NSW.
  • Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft providing aerial surveillance and imagery support was extended into northern NSW flood-affected regions.
  • Additional personnel were being prepared in Sydney for emergency support tasks in northern NSW, if required.
  • Defence embedded staff in the State Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC) at Homebush and SESHQ in Wollongong.
  • ADF helicopter crews conducted seven rescue missions resulting in 17 people rescued across a variety of locations in NSW including Woodburn, Dunoon, Bungawalbin, Upper Wilsons Creek, Kyogle, Swan River and Upper Main Arm.

On Monday, February 28:

  • Readying additional ADF personnel so that they can move within 24 hours’ notice to augment support efforts.
  • In accordance with Emergency Management Australia priorities, Defence was focusing delivery of ADF rotary-wing support into northern NSW region.

In Queensland:

  • Defence continued to make preparations to support the Queensland Government requirements for evacuation handling centres if needed.
  • ADF personnel deployed to aged-care facilities in the Brisbane area assisted with flood preparation including sandbagging and subsequent clean-up after flood waters had receded.
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Defence visited 7th Brigade in Brisbane to receive a brief on the brigade’s capabilities, and also an update on the ADF efforts in assisting with flood relief.
  • A helicopter crew provided urgent search and rescue support in looking for a car that had been reportedly swept away down Albert River in the vicinity of Logan. The search was called off when it was confirmed that the car was unoccupied.
  • One AW139 helicopter deployed from Townsville to south-east Queensland to reinforce ADF rotary-wing effects in Queensland and northern NSW.
  • One Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft provided aerial surveillance and imagery of the Mary River in the Gympie and Maryborough regions, flood-affected areas of the Brisbane River, and conducted two ad-hoc surveys of catchment areas in the Sunshine Coast Airport and Caloundra Airport regions.

In New South Wales:

  • Helicopter crews conducted seven rescue missions resulting in 23 people rescued across a variety of locations, including Lismore, Ballina and Gundurimba.

On Sunday, February 27:

  • Defence provided an Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft from South Australia to provide aerial surveillance support to the Queensland Government about flood and damage assessments.
  • Two MRH-90 Taipan helicopters continued search and rescue operations, including winch recovery.
  • Two commercial contracted rescue helicopters in Brisbane continued to be on standby to supplement Defence capability.
  • ADF helicopter crews conducted 10 rescue missions in Queensland resulting in 19 people rescued across a wide variety of locations, including Regency Downs, Woolshed Creek and Lake Clarendon among others.
    • Aircrews responded to a property at Mount Tarampa where a family who were surrounded by water in their home was rescued.
    • Aircrew conducted a rescue winch recovery of a man in flood waters at Prenzlau, who was subsequently evacuated to RAAF Base Amberley.
  • ADF provided emergency support to the NSW State Emergency Service in flood affected areas in the Northern NSW region with help from the Army’s 5th Brigade.
    • As part of this support, approximately 70 Army Reserve soldiers from the 41st Battalion the Royal New South Wales Regiment were undertaking a range of tasks including sandbagging, door knocking and transportation.

On Saturday, February 26:

  • Defence received a request from the Queensland Government, through Emergency Management Australia, to increase its support.
    • Helicopter crews conducted eight rescue missions resulting in 28 people being rescued.
    • The rescues took place in vicinity of Regency Downs, Woolshed Creek, Clarendon, Rifle Range and Mount Tarampa in Queensland.
    • Rescue details include:
      • Aircrew responded to a property at Regency Downs, where a mother and infant along with four children, who were surrounded by water in their home, were rescued.
      • Aircrew also successfully searched for and located three missing men in a dinghy who were in difficulty after setting off to help neighbours. They were winched into the helicopter and transported safely at RAAF Base Amberley.
      • At approximately 2:45pm Queensland local time, an MRH-90 Taipan helicopter was tasked to a rescue at Lake Clarendon where a community member was stranded on the roof of a vehicle.

On Friday, February 25:

  • Following a request by Queensland Police, Defence commenced support to rescue efforts of civilians affected by the Queensland floods.
  • Australian Army MRH-90 Taipan helicopters assisted the rescue of community members trapped in flood-affected areas in south-east Queensland.
  • Helicopter crews conducted two missions resulting in two separate rescues resulting in four people being rescued. The rescues took place in vicinity of Gatton and Jimboomba (Boonah).

Defence will continue to provide additional support as requested by the Queensland and NSW governments. Defence is ready to support the states as the flood emergency and recovery efforts continue.


 
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