HMAS Choules has sailed for northern Queensland waters in support of communities which may be affected by Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
The amphibious ship, left Sydney on 27 March as part of broader Australian Defence Force support to Queensland emergency services responding to the cyclone, which is expected to make landfall early on 28 March.
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin said Defence was prepared and ready to respond with immediate assistance to local communities within the storm zone in coordination with state and local disaster management authorities.
“Australian Defence Force personnel
are highly trained, well equipped and experienced in providing assistance to Australian communities affected by natural disasters,” Air Chief Marshal Binskin said.
“We are ready and able to respond to this emergency in support of civilian emergency authorities and the residents of north eastern Queensland once
the full impact of Debbie is known.
“As a precaution HMAS Choules is heading north to Queensland to be ready to support recovery efforts if required,” Air Chief Marshal Binskin said.
The Navy is on standby for such tasking during the cyclone season with a duty humanitarian assistance and disaster relief ship.
For this response task, two MRH90 helicopters have flown to Oakey, Queensland, to supplement existing Army and Air Force aircraft
already in Townsville and Air Force aircraft in Amberley and Darwin. Army personnel and equipment are also on standby.
Defence can support emergencies with aeromedical evacuation, search and rescue, road clearance, restoration of essential services, emergency accommodation and the delivery of stores.