Firefighters head to Vanuatu

Liverpool Fire Station’s Ross Webster and Robert Duncombe were part of a team, formed as part of the Australian Government’s humanitarian response in Vanuatu. Photo by Simon BennettTWO Liverpool firefighters have returned home after spending 10 days helping people affected by Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu.

Liverpool Fire Station’s Robert Duncombe and Ross Webster, who lives in Moss Vale, were part of a 56-member team, led by Fire and Rescue NSW.

The Australian Urban Search and Rescue Task Force mission was formed as part of the Australian Government’s humanitarian response in Vanuatu.

Mr Duncombe said it was “very” satisfying to be able to help the people of Vanuatu.

The Task Force carried out 50 rapid damage assessments on health, education and government buildings as well as vital infrastructure.

“We were completely self sufficient when were were there and had our own base of operations, with communications, logistics, hygiene and sleeping tents,” Mr Duncombe said.

He said the teams’ work included doing repairs to the Port Vila Hospital and maternity centre, and local schools.

“We spent three days at the hospital repairing the roofs above where the patients stay and in the children’s ward,” he said.

“We also worked in the community and repaired damage that was done at the schools.

“The people did get a little overwhelmed by the way we went in there and fixed the classrooms for all of the kids.””

Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said he was proud of the work done by the task force members.

“The team has gone above and beyond in helping the people of Vanuatu get back on their feet,” he said. ‘

‘We can be sure that the help they provided will be welcomed by those who have suffered great loss as a result of this devastating cyclone.”

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