Deployed to WA

Gisborne and Castlemaine State Emergency Service members were among the 75 volunteers deployed to Western Australia to support the state’s Cyclone Seroja response and recovery effort.
During five-day deployments they assisted in the storm damage response, roof and chainsaw operations and with other resourcing requirements.
The category three cyclone hit near the town of Kalbarri on north of Geraldton on the WA coast on April 11 with wind gusts of 170km/h damaging more than 1000 buildings across the region, destroying close to 50 homes, and knocking down powerlines and fences.
Support from Victoria was requested through the National Resource Sharing Centre.
As part of Victoria’s multiagency approach, Country Fire Authority, Forest Fire Management Victoria and Emergency Management Victoria personnel are also assisting across the region working alongside emergency service personnel from across Western Australia and New South Wales.
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the agency-wide approach would continue to support WA for as long as required.
“This event is far from over for communities around Kalbarri. The area impacted by this devastating cyclone is enormous. Emergency services crews from around Australia and the Australian Defence Force are also assisting,” Mr Crisp said.
Castlemaine SES volunteers Robert and Victor flew out with the first contingent on April 13. They flew to WA with Qantas and then aboard an Air Force C130 Hercules aircraft from RAAF Pearce to the staging area at Geraldton.
“Our team worked alongside members of SES units from WA, NSW and with members of the NSW Fire and Rescue and Rural Fire Brigades and operated mainly around Mingenew and Northampton and outlying rural properties that had suffered substantial damage,” Robert said.
“Our role was to assist these communities with emergency repairs, primarily with roof repairs. This involved tarping over roofs that had been blown off so people could return to their homes and begin the clean up.
“These people had been through a terrible experience but really appreciated the efforts of all the responders to help them begin to get back on their feet.
“We met some superb people from a host of emergency service agencies and also received some wonderful hospitality from the dedicated volunteers from The Salvation Army who provided our meals at the basketball stadium where we stayed for the duration,” he said.
Gisborne, Marong, Echuca and Bendigo SES volunteers flew out for WA on Wednesday last week and another Castlemaine volunteer was scheduled to fly out on a fifth deployment on Saturday.
“I think our support will be required for some time yet. But that’s what Australians do. We help a mate in need,” Robert said.

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