Australian Defence Force completes Yolanda recovery operation
16 December 2013
Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel have completed their recovery assistance mission in the Philippines and will return to Australia later this week.
The ADF recovery mission to areas severely affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) officially ended today (16 December) at a ceremony in Ormoc, Philippines, attended by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs officers, Australian Army officers and local officials including the Mayor, Mr Edward C. Codilla
Commander of the ADF Joint Task Force, Lieutenant Colonel Rod Lang, said the Australian Defence Force was proud of its contribution.
“Over the past month the ADF has moved thousands of tonnes of aid by air and sea where it has been needed most, evacuated displaced people, and helped over 15,000 kids get back to school in Ormoc.
“I am pleased to say the Philippines government have the situation here under control and no longer need our help,” he added.
Mayor Codilla thanked the Australians for their contribution in cleaning up schools and relief efforts across the region.
“Ormoc is now standing on its feet and moving rapidly to recovery. A big Salamat! (Thank you), Australia, from all in Ormoc,” said Mayor Codilla.
The Australian Defence Force’s support to Typhoon relief and recovery efforts commenced on 13 November and has included Air, Sea and Land operations to Tacloban, Ormoc, Guiuan, Roxas, Cebu and Bantayan Islands.
Air Force aircraft deployed the Australian Medical Hospital to Tacloban, carried more than 3,000,000 lbs (1,360 Tonnes) of cargo and about 5,500 passengers including approximately 3,500 internally displaced persons in support of relief and recovery operations.
Amphibious Australian Navy ship Tobruk brought Army Engineers and equipment to do school clean-up tasks and delivered 110 tonnes of humanitarian aid to isolated island communities in the Visayas archipelago. It returned to Australia 09 December.
Between 28 November and 14 December, Australian Army engineers, in coordination with Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Philippines Education Department officials, cleaned-up and repaired 16 schools. These efforts are estimated by Education Department officials to have allowed about 15,500 students to return to classes in the region.
The remaining ADF personnel in Ormoc and Cebu will now finalise preparations to return to Australia later this week.
“Australia continues to stand by its neighbour and dear friend, the Philippines, as we move from relief and recovery operations to rehabilitation and reconstruction in communities affected by Typhoon Yolanda,” Dr David Dutton, the Australian Embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission, said.
“We are here for the long haul and will continue to coordinate with our various partners on the ground to make sure that affected Filipinos struggling to pick up their lives get the proper support and opportunities that they deserve,” Dr Dutton added.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop just last week announced an additional A$10 million to Australia’s response to Typhoon Haiyan, bringing the total Australian contribution to A$40 million. The ADF operations are on top of this contribution, which covers the following:
- The deployment of Australian Medical Assistance Teams ($3 million);
- The deployment of Australian Federal Police Disaster Victim Management specialists and humanitarian and consular experts ($1 million);
- Emergency relief stores, including sleeping mats, water containers, mosquito nets, and health and hygiene kits ($1 million);
- Support for Australian non-governmental organisations ($5 million) and Filipino non-government organisations ($4 million);
- Funding to the Australian Red Cross ($3 million) and the International Committee of the Red Cross ($4 million); and
- $19 million for the United Nations Action Plan, for the following agencies: United Nation Children’s Fund ($7 million), World Food Programme ($5 million), World Health Organization ($5 million), UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ($1 million), and United Nations Population Fund ($1 million).
Imagery of ADF operations in the Visayas can be found at http://www.defence.gov.au/operations/philippinesassist/home.asp