Operation Yasi Assist

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Operation Yasi Assist
Part of Response to Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi
Type National emergency response contingency
Location Cyclone affected areas of Queensland
Planned by Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ)
Objective Cyclone relief
Date 2 February 2011 – 14 February 2011
Executed by Joint Task Force 664

Operation Yasi Assist was a multi-Service activity by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as part of the response to Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi. Coordinated to aid civilian emergency response efforts, at Federal inter-departmental level it was managed by Emergency Management Queensland. It comprised units and personnel from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Australian Army, and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) operating as Joint Task Force 664 (JTF 664).[1] The operation was initially commanded by Brigadier Stuart Smith, based at Lavarack Barracks in Townsville.


JTF 664 was established on 2 February 2011 to command the ADF units responding to the cyclone. The RAAF provided aeromedical evacuations for 255 patients in Cairns Base Hospital and Cairns Private Hospital on the night of 1-2 February.[1] The operation was described by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh as the largest aeromedical evacuation in Australia's history.[2]

By 9 February, one week after the cyclone, the ADF had deployed 1,200 personnel to affected regions with another 400 outside those regions providing air transport and aerial survey. An AP-3C Orion configured for Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation aerial survey mapped the damage across a wide area of Queensland.[3] The Army Aviation Corps deployed four S70A-9 Black Hawk, one CH-47D Chinook and three NH90 helicopters.[3] Army engineers deployed to coastal towns by LCM-8 and LARC-V landing craft as roads were blocked by debris. Engineers cleared 230km of roads in the first week.

The hydrographic survey ship HMAS Benalla surveyed the port of Townsville for submerged debris, allowing the port to reopen three days after the cyclone.[4]

The heavy landing ship HMAS Tobruk, in dry dock for major repairs, was rushed back into service to assist in logistic support.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Defence Responds to Tropical Cyclone Yasi". Department of Defence. 2011-02-02. 
  2. ^ "Makeshift emergency department opens in Cairns after hospital closed". The Courier-Mail. 2001-02-02. 
  3. ^ a b "Aircraft heading to cyclone zone". Daily Mercury. 4 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "Ships bring food for north". The Age. 5 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "Urgent repairs prepare Tobruk to assist". Canberra Times. 5 February 2011.