Volunteer disaster relief organisation Taskforce Kiwi has deployed an initial team of six volunteers to Queensland in support of relief and recovery efforts following ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper.
The heavy rainfall and flooding caused by Cyclone Jasper wreaked havoc across Queensland for two weeks from mid-December 2023, impacting an estimated 250,000 people and damaging homes and infrastructure.
As heavy rainfall continues to threaten already affected communities, the Australian Federal Government has activated the Australian Defence Force  and Disaster Relief Australia for impact assessments, debris clearance and other aid as required.
The debris clearance will provide direct support to communities, while enabling access to vital infrastructure and allow local government authorities to determine the next steps in recovery.
Taskforce Kiwi and Disaster Relief Australia volunteers clean up silt and debris caused by flooding from Cyclone Gabrielle in Hawke’s Bay.
Taskforce Kiwi join Disaster Relief Australia as additional support as they launch their largest operation since they were founded in 2017, and an initial rotation of experienced volunteers have deployed to Queensland to join Disaster Relief Australia’s relief and recovery efforts, focusing on the City of Logan, Scenic Rim and City of Gold Coast local government areas.
Planning is currently underway for further rotations of Taskforce Kiwi volunteers to deploy across the ditch in the coming weeks, at no cost to New Zealand communities. Flight support has been generously provided by Air New Zealand via Taskforce Kiwi’s humanitarian logistics partner AirLink.
“After Taskforce Kiwi deployed to NSW to assist with flood relief in late 2022 and early 2023, Disaster Relief Australia provided significant and ongoing support to our Cyclone Gabrielle response in Hawke’s Bay in 2023. It’s a privilege to be able to repay that support alongside our Anzac cousins”, says Richard Adams, National Director of Taskforce Kiwi.
“Our ability to rapidly deploy volunteers across the Tasman to help out where needed is a direct result of the assistance and hard work of Air New Zealand and Airlink, and we’re incredibly grateful for their support”.
While Taskforce Kiwi’s priority is supporting communities in Aotearoa, they undertake international deployments for three reasons; to strengthen international partnerships that can be called on here when needed in the future; to build the skills and experience of Taskforce Kiwi volunteers for use at home; and to ensure that those in need benefit from the work of Taskforce Kiwi volunteers, wherever and whoever they are.
Taskforce Kiwi volunteers loading aid items destined for communities cut off by Cyclone Gabrielle in early 2023.