Army crews mo­bilise

Per­son­nel join clean-up

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

THE Aus­tralian De­fence Force has of­fered an inside look into their clean-up op­er­a­tions in the Whit­sun­days.

Their re­cently re­leased video shows their clean-up ef­forts in Wil­sons Beach.

“Around this area in Wil­sons Beach, they’ve got hit by a lot.

“(There’s) a lot of de­bris, trees up­rooted, all of the sin­gle level houses are com­pletely filled up with de­bris,” Lance Cor­po­ral Ja­son Bick­ham said.

Lieu­tenant Andrew Shone said they had seen a range of dev­as­ta­tion.

“(There’s) a prop­erty on top of the hill that has been com­pletely flat­tened. At one point (there was) 5m of wa­ter that went through the houses. (It) com­pletely de­stroyed ev­ery­thing in that per­sons place,” he said.

One Hy­de­away Bay res­i­dent said Cy­clone Deb­bie was the worst ex­pe­ri­ence of her life.

“As far as we’re con­cerned, it was the most hor­rific ex­pe­ri­ence of our lives. We said it was the worst two days of our lives. We’ve never spent two days as bad as this in any cir­cum­stances what­so­ever,” Maren Matthew said.

Lieu­tenant Colonel Jennifer Harris said their op­er­a­tions would now fo­cus on Air­lie Beach and Proser­pine.

“Our fo­cus is very much shifted to help­ing some of the more iso­lated com­mu­ni­ties along the coast­line Dingo Beach, Hy­de­away Bay and also into Con­way Beach and Wil­sons Beach. Th­ese were the ar­eas that were per­haps worst hit both from wind dam­age but also from a sig­nif­i­cant storm surge,” she said.

Joint Task Force 661 is the Aus­tralian De­fence Force re­sponse to sup­port lo­cal and state au­thor­i­ties with the re­cov­ery fol­low­ing Cy­clone Deb­bie.

PHOTO: SHARON SMALL­WOOD

HELP­ING HAND: The Army set up at the Whit­sun­day PCYC on Fri­day in prepa­ra­tion for dis­as­ter re­cov­ery in the af­ter­math of Cy­clone Deb­bie.

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