NZDF deploys specialist team and clean-up parties ahead of Cyclone Gabrielle

Line of Defence Magazine - Update

Cyclone deployment
NZDF personnel assist in extreme weather preparations. Image: NZDF.

Around 100 Defence Force personnel were in Auckland communities on Friday afternoon helping remove flood-damaged waste ahead of forecast severe weather, with a specialist team positioned to assist civil defence.

A team from Wellington’s Deployable Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (DJIATF) has travelled to Auckland to assist civil defence and emergency authorities in anticipation of Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact on the upper North Island.

“NZDF personnel are assisting Auckland authorities with recovery efforts following the 27 January flooding, and we’re also ready to respond in the event of a further emergency response,” said Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour.

Auckland Civil Defence Emergency Management has asked the NZDF to help implement urgent aspects of its solid waste action plan. This follows concerns that waterways could be potentially contaminated with large piles of curb-side waste due to the forecast weather event.

Teams of up to 30 Air Force and Navy personnel have been in communities during the week helping carry flood-damaged household furnishings and rubbish to curbsides to be collected by Council Waste Solutions personnel.

Auckland Emergency Management staff were taken on two flights on SH-2G(I) helicopters to identify the worst affected areas of waste build-up.

On Thursday, 52 NZDF personnel from RNZAF Base Auckland (Whenuapai) and Devonport Naval Base were out helping clear flood-damaged waste, including around Riverhead.

By Friday afternoon, around 100 personnel (around 40 Army, 30 Air Force and 30 Navy personnel) were to assist with waste removal.

The Joint Command and Reconnaissance Team from the DJIATF will be based at RNZAF Base Auckland, with a liaison officer in the Auckland Emergency Command Centre to help coordinate tasks. Personnel from DJIATF are among the NZDF’s early responders in times of crisis such as natural disasters like tsunami and earthquakes.