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Victorian Emergency crews to assist Queensland following Cyclone Debbie

POSTED: 
30 March 2017

Victorian emergency personnel will travel to Queensland today to assist with potential severe flooding in the south east of the state and recovery efforts following Cyclone Debbie.

A contingent of about 30 personnel from the State Emergency Service, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Country Fire Authority and Forest Fire Management Victoria will fly to Brisbane this afternoon to provide planning, operational and recovery support.

Tropical Cyclone Debbie was declared a catastrophe after it hit the Whitsunday Coast and Airlie Beach on Tuesday leaving behind a trail of destruction and massive community impacts.

Thunderstorms, torrential rain and flash flooding are now expected in south-east Queensland as ex-Cyclone Debbie makes it way down the coast. Schools and business have been closed for community safety.

State Response Controller Steve Warrington said Victoria’s crews will provide two clear functions through the reinforcement of incident management teams and assistance in Swift Water Rescue.

“We are sending 10 MFB crew to conduct Swift Water Rescue which will be critical given the forecast for more than 200mm of rain across the south east of the state,’’ he said.

“Swift Water Rescue teams are specially trained and used rigid inflatable boats to rescue people trapped in floodwater, fast flowing rivers and creeks.

“Our other personnel will be deployed to Queensland’s state control centre or regional incident control centres to undertake roles in planning, logistics and operations.’’

Victoria’s emergency personnel will be deployed on five to seven day rotations and it is expected assistance will be potentially required for weeks. Support from Red Cross Victoria has also been provided. 

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said Victoria’s emergency personnel would be part of a national effort to provide support and assistance to Queensland.

“Queensland requested additional resources to help with response to flooding and recovery efforts following Cyclone Debbie and Victoria is always happy to provide assistance when needed,’’ he said.

“Our crews are experienced in dealing with major flood and storm events and we are skilled in providing relief and recovery assistance to communities following emergencies.’’

This is Victoria’s second deployment this year after crews were sent to assist New South Wales as parts of the state experienced Code Red / Catastrophic bushfire conditions in February.

“Victoria has the resources available and it is really important that we can share them when possible to help communities in other states and internationally,’’ Mr Lapsley said.

“We’ve been in constant discussion with Queensland and we will make sure we provide assistance where needed and at the right time.

“Our philosophy in Victoria is ‘we work as one’ and that extends to our partners in Queensland and elsewhere across Australia.’’