Victorians deployed to assist with WA cyclone relief effort

13 April 2021

Twenty-two Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) personnel will today be deployed to Western Australia (WA) to support with the state’s Cyclone Seroja relief effort.

Support from both Victoria and New South Wales was requested through the National Resource Sharing Centre yesterday, with the first VICSES Senior Liaison Officer arriving into the state late last night. 

This taskforce includes predominantly VICSES volunteers plus a limited number of support staff from across the state who will assist in storm damage response, roof and chainsaw operations and other resourcing requirements. 

Once deployed from Victoria to Perth, the taskforce will arrive in two separate groups and then travel to Geraldton in vehicles, where they will work for three days. Both groups are due to arrive back in Melbourne on Saturday.
 
Currently in WA, homes have been destroyed and residents left without power after the cyclone made landfall as a category three storm late on Sunday, bringing wind gusts of up to approximately 170 kilometres per hour.

Departing from Melbourne, the VICSES members from across the state include 20 taskforce members, a taskforce leader, a task force driver, and a joint liaison officer. 

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the State Control Centre is supporting this deployment of front-line operators.

“The scale of damage we’re seeing in WA is quite significant, and so we expect a big job ahead for our teams heading over. We’re preparing what we can do to help now, with a member already deployed last night to assist with a smooth transition of our members in WA. I want to thank those who have volunteered and their employers who let them go at such short notice,” said Commissioner Crisp.

“Victoria will do whatever we can to support our colleagues and communities affected in WA and work with all relevant agencies to help with recovery efforts as we can,” added Commissioner Crisp.

VICSES Chief Officer Operations, Tim Wiebusch, said he expects the commitment will be significant across the recovery phase with members ready to assist with a wide range of storm response operations, from roofing to chainsaw work. 

Victoria’s strong and ongoing relationships with other states mean we can share personnel, skills, knowledge, equipment and experience.