The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is providing support to the Queensland Police Service in response to floods affecting North Queensland communities following Ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper.
Defence deployed two Army CH-47F Chinooks and two AW-139 helicopters from Townsville to Cairns, with personnel from HMAS Cairns and 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment, coming to the rescue of Cairns residents affected by flooding.
The helicopters assisted transporting about 150 emergency service personnel and equipment to Cairns, and evacuated isolated residents.
The Commanding Officer of Cairns, Commander Alfonso Santos, described the effort of the ADF personnel on the ground.
“We have been able to evacuate 120 people yesterday [December 19], which included Wugal Wugal residents, and expect we will do the same tomorrow until the job is done,” Commander Santos said.
“Defence will remain responsive to changing requirements and continue to adjust to meet the needs of affected communities as identified by the Queensland Government and the Local Disaster Management Group – Cairns Region.”
The Commander of Joint Task Group 629.3, Brigadier Richard Peace, said he was proud of the efforts of his group in supporting the North Queensland communities.
“Our soldiers are mucking in by supporting local and state emergency services personnel, and together, under very challenging environmental circumstances, doing whatever they can to support the people of Cairns and surrounding communities,” Brigadier Peace said.