Fresh from a weekend training exercise at Waiouru in the central North Island, soldiers from 5/7 Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment have been called upon at short notice to help out during the Napier flooding.

Army Reservists were assembled at an hour’s notice on Monday night after the call from Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

Army Unimog trucks, which had proved their worth during flooding in Northland in July, were again called on to rescue people.

Twenty-two people were rescued and delivered to welfare accommodation. The Unimogs were also used to transport officials around Napier as they surveyed the damage and delivered assessment teams to flooded communities.

“Our Mogs are the only vehicles that could negotiate the deep flooded streets in Napier, said Major Tausia Tarsau, Executive Officer of 5/7 Battalion.

“It was a job well done by our soldiers given the late notice and reaction time of just over an hour to mobilise.”

“This is another very good example of both Regular Force personnel and Army Reservists working closely with other Government and Non-Government Agencies to support our communities during their times of need,” Major Tarsau said.

The drivers were stood down on Wednesday morning and the Unimogs have been refuelled and are on standby.

5/7 RNZIR, specifically East Coast Company, is tasked with providing support to civil defence emergencies in the Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne areas. A Liaison Officer and a Local Emergency Response Group are able to deploy quickly and be self-sufficient for up to 72 hours.

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