A former player for the Saints United Soccer Club is in the Philippines kicking goals for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in a disaster relief operation called Operation Philippines Assist.
Putney’s Hannah Lee is a sailor serving in the heavy-lift ship, HMAS Tobruk, which is spear-heading the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) response to the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.
The Navy hydrographer has the important job of finding safe sites on the beach for Tobruk’s landing-craft to unload vital equipment and supplies.
Hannah and her team were among the first ADF elements ashore when Tobruk arrived off the coast of Ormoc City, on Leyte Island, on November 26.
Hannah said her team conducted beach surveys and rapid environmental assessments to ensure the landing-craft could come ashore with their equipment.
“There was a fair bit of pressure to find a suitable landing site quite quickly because more than a 100 Army engineers were waiting to get ashore and start clean up work,” she said.
When the field survey work was completed, Hannah processed the data to generate a map, which is a vital product for the landing-craft coxswains and ship’s navigator.
Her survey ensured the Army engineers could land and commence a range of tasks including cleaning up debris in public areas and schools.
“The day provided some real hurdles and challenges, but I really enjoyed the high intensity,” she said.
Hannah said the ADF are kicking goals in the Philippines for the victims of the deadly typhoon.
“The ADF has an excellent reputation for providing humanitarian assistance to regional neighbours when emergencies such as this occur,” she said.
“I have the experience of having conducted a similar mission in HMAS Tobruk as part of Operation Samoa Assist after the 2009 tsunami.”
Tobruk was diverted from her tasking to support the disaster relief effort following a request by the Government of Philippines in November.Tobruk is ideally suited to the recovery effort given her amphibious heavy lift capability, on board accommodation and ability to support helicopter and landing craft operations. Capabilities in Tobruk also include hydrographic survey, clearance divers, medical professionals and linguists.