HMAS Tobruk arrives to support recovery in the Philippines

Published on Department of Defence (author), CPL Jake Sims (photographer)

Location(s): Ormoc, Leyte Island, Philippines

Topic(s): Operations, HMAS Tobruk (II)

HMAS Tobruk sits at anchor off the coast of Ormoc, Philippines, ready to support Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST. (photo: CPL Jake Sims)
HMAS Tobruk sits at anchor off the coast of Ormoc, Philippines, ready to support Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.

HMAS Tobruk has arrived to commence recovery support operations in the Ormoc region of Leyte Island to assist the Philippines government repair the damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

HMAS Tobruk, which sailed from Townsville on 18 November with a Recovery Support Force onboard, arrived yesterday and is disembarking Army personnel from Townsville’s 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment today by landing craft. The engineers will commence a range of tasks from tomorrow, including road clearing and quick impact tasks such as debris clean-up in public areas.

Commander of Joint Task Force 630 Lieutenant Colonel Rod Lang, from the Army’s Deployable Joint Task Force Headquarters in Brisbane, says the area received widespread damage from the typhoon and will benefit greatly from Australian assistance.

“We visited this area last week and it was devastated. Most houses were destroyed or without roofs, but despite this the people were calm and doing the best they could,” Lieutenant Colonel Lang said.

“The Joint Task Force of Navy, Army and Air Force elements will provide assistance, together with other Australian government agencies, to the Philippines government to help the people of the region recover and move on with their lives.”

A reconnaissance by Defence and Australian government personnel last week in the Ormoc region highlighted the widespread damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan. Local Philippine officials estimated most structures in the region suffered some form of damage from high winds and identified the area would benefit greatly from Australian assistance.

The Recovery Support Force is supported by a team of Navy, Army, Air Force and Australian government personnel based at Ormoc Airport on the Island of Leyte and Mactan International Airport at Cebu. Airlift support to the task force is being provided by Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster aircraft.

Including those embarked in HMAS Tobruk, more than 500 ADF personnel are deployed in support of Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.

Further information is available on the Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST website at http://www.defence.gov.au/operations/philippinesassist/home.asp.

Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20132312.

Royal Australian Navy Clearance Diving Team Four depart a beach in Ormoc, Philippines, after conducting beach reconnaissance for the Recovery Support Force amphibious landing during Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST. HMAS Tobruk is visible in the background.

Royal Australian Navy Clearance Diving Team Four depart a beach in Ormoc, Philippines, after conducting beach reconnaissance for the Recovery Support Force amphibious landing during Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST. HMAS Tobruk is visible in the background.