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Defence prepares for Tropical Cyclone Yasi response
03 February 2011

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) in Northern Queensland has established ‘Operation YASI ASSIST’, a Joint Task Force (JTF) in support of the Queensland Government's response to Tropical Cyclone Yasi.

JTF664 was established under the command of Brigadier Stuart Smith, Commander of the Townsville based 3rd Brigade, in response to the Category Five cyclone.

Brigadier Smith said the ADF was maintaining close liaison with state government authorities and was prepared to provide support to emergency services if requested.

“Specialist aviation, engineering, health, and logistic assets are on standby to enable an effective ADF response,” Brigadier Smith said.

In addition to transferring patients from Cairns to Brisbane onboard two Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules and two C-17 Globemasters earlier this week, the ADF has been assisting the Queensland Police Service.

Brigadier Smith said soldiers assisted police with door-knocks, providing advice to occupants whose properties were under threat, and transporting emergency rations from Townsville to Cairns for use in evacuation centres.

“We have also transferred close to 50 elderly Townsville residents from a nursing home,” Brigadier Smith said.

Emergency Management Queensland remains the lead agency for disaster response to Cyclone Yasi and Defence will remain in support of State and Federal agencies throughout.