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NZDF deploys specialist team and clean-up parties as Cyclone Gabrielle approaches

The New Zealand Defence Force will have around 100 personnel in Auckland communities this afternoon helping remove flood-damaged waste ahead of forecast severe weather, while a specialist team is positioned to assist Auckland civil defence.

10 February, 2023

Click here for the latest live updates on the support to Auckland and the upper North Island following severe weather.

A team from Wellington’s Deployable Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (DJIATF) has travelled to Auckland to stand ready to assist civil defence and emergency authorities in anticipation of Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact on the upper North Island.

“NZDF personnel are assisting Auckland authorities with recovery efforts following the 27 January flooding, and we’re also ready to respond in the event of a further emergency response,” said Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour.

Auckland Civil Defence Emergency Management has asked the NZDF to help implement the urgent aspects of its solid waste action plan.

Auckland authorities are concerned about the risk to people’s health from contaminated waste in and around people’s homes, and there is concern that with the more severe weather forecast that waterways could be potentially contaminated with large piles of curb-side waste.

Teams of up to 30 Air Force and Navy personnel have been in communities last week helping get flood-damaged household furnishings and rubbish to the curb to be collected by Council Waste Solutions staff and trucks.

To help with the waste removal plan, Auckland Emergency Management staff were taken on two flights on SH-2G(I) helicopters to identify the worst affected areas of waste build-up.

Yesterday, 52 NZDF personnel from Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Auckland (Whenuapai) and Devonport Naval Base were out helping clear flood-damaged waste including around Riverhead.

By this afternoon, around 100 personnel (expected to be around 40 Army, 30 Air Force and 30 Navy personnel) will be assisting with waste removal, and they’ll be working over the weekend to help clear waste ahead of the forecast severe weather.

The Joint Command and Reconnaissance Team from the DJIATF will be based at RNZAF Base Auckland, with a liaison officer in the Auckland Emergency Command Centre to help coordinate tasks.

Personnel from DJIATF are among the NZDF’s early responders in times of crisis such as natural disasters like tsunami and earthquakes.