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ADF Humanitarian Personnel Returning From PNG

ADF Personnel Start Returning From Humanitarian Assistance In Papua New Guinea

WHO: Joint Task Force 636 Command elements.

WHAT: Returning to Australia after achieving stabilisation of the humanitarian assistance to Papua New Guinea after Cyclone Guba.

WHERE: Townsville Airport.

WHEN: 2.30pm on Thursday, 6 December 2007.

BACKGROUND: Australia's humanitarian effort, led by AusAID and supported by the Australian Defence Force, has helped the Papua New Guinea Government bring desperately-needed relief to Oro province in PNG, following the devastation caused by Cyclone Guba.

Substantial flooding took place in Oro province, caused by several days of torrential rain from Cyclone Guba, which struck Oro around 15 November 2007. The region suffered substantial damage to infrastructure, including roads, bridges and telecommunications, making accurate reporting difficult.

On 22 November the Australian Government committed $1 million to assist the PNG relief effort. The ADF deployed substantial assets in support of the relief effort including 154 personnel from the three armed services; two RAAF C-130 Hercules aircraft, three RAAF Caribou aircraft; three Army Black Hawk helicopters, an Army King Air fixed-wing aircraft and a RAAF C-17 Globemaster III heavy lift transport plane.

A total of 410 tonnes of humanitarian assistance had been airlifted from Port Moresby. Within Oro province, the Caribous distributed 246 tonnes plus 143 tonnes from stores other than ADF sources. HMAS Wewak moved 220 tonnes of stores into Gona.

The three RAAF Caribous from No 38 Squadron and its 21 supporting staff will arrive in Townsville on Thursday 6 December around mid-afternoon. On Friday 7 December, a group of approximately 25 personnel from the Headquarter element, 176 Air Dispatch and 1CCS will arrive at RAAF Richmond by C-130 Hercules aircraft around mid-afternoon. The Commander of Joint Task Force 636, Group Captain Tim Innes, will be available for interviews.


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