100 soldiers from Townsville to help with Marcia clean up

THE Australian Defence Force has deployed a 100-person Emergency Support Force (ESF) from the Townsville-based 3rd Brigade to assist recovery operations in the areas worst affected by Tropical Cyclone Marcia.

The ESF will be operating in the Yeppoon, Rockhampton and Mt Morgan areas focusing their efforts on post-disaster clean-up operations at 16 schools and four aged-care facilities.

Engineer elements from the Townsville-based 3rd Brigade pre-deployed overnight to the township of Sarina, south of Mackay, and this morning will move to the Rockhampton area to assist Queensland State Emergency Service personnel, emergency management officials and local council personnel.

The soldiers will remove fallen and damaged trees, dangerous debris and other green waste as well as help to restore access to isolated suburbs.

Army Reserve soldiers from the Rockhampton-based 31/42 Royal Queensland Regiment will also continue their clean up efforts which began on Saturday under local disaster assistance arrangements.

The two Royal Australian Air Force aircraft, an AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and a KA350 King Air have completed wide area surveillance of cities, towns, infrastructure and roads for the Queensland emergency management officials.

Defence support to cyclone-affected areas is expected to continue for a number of days.