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Buller Flood Support

New Zealand Army soldiers from 3rd Combat Service Support Battalion (3CSSB), based at Burnham Military Camp deployed to the Buller District on the West Coast following severe flooding.

20 July, 2021

The few remaining soldiers in the unit who weren’t currently committed to Operation Protect braved the treacherous driving conditions on the way to the worst hit area of Westport. Only six weeks earlier the unit also responded to the Ashburton floods in mid-Canterbury.

Our soldiers assisted Buller Emergency Management alongside Fire and Emergency New Zealand, New Zealand Police, New Zealand Emergency Management Assistance Team, Land Search & Rescue New Zealand, Urban Search & Rescue, as well as Community Coordinators with the evacuation of more than 800 properties and 2,000 residents in the area.

Residents were moved to welfare centres and to stay with friends and family. The evacuations were complex with teams assisting with multiple areas spread across Westport. The team continues to support the community of Westport by assisting with cordons and accessing hard-to-reach houses.

In addition to those helping with evacuations, 3CSSB caterers, with our Tactical Field Kitchen assisted in cooking and feeding up to 300 emergency responders who were supporting the flood response effort.

By the numbers:
  • 32 soldiers on the ground in Westport
  • Four Liaison Officers assisting Buller District Emergency Operations Centre
  • Four Unimogs
  • Two HX58 MHOV
  • Two HX60 MHOV
  • Two Light 4WD
  • One LOV (Forward Repair Team)
  • One Tactical Field Kitchen feeding up to 300 emergency responders
  • Assisted with the evacuation of more than 800 properties and 2,000 residents in the district

A Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopter and its crew from No.3 Squadron also assisted with additional tasks in the region including damage assessments of isolated areas, emergency food drops to rural addresses and farm stock assessments.