Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Australian Army engineers get results

Australian Army engineers are helping the residents of Tandikat in West Sumatra by clearing a major landslide that covered parts of the village including the local primary school.

Commanding Officer of the field engineering element Major Michael Scott said about 400 metres of dirt on each side of the valley had been washed over the town.“We understand there were two weddings taking place at the time and students were still in class at the local school,” Major Scott said.Evidence of the sheer force of the landslide was obvious further upstream where a suspension bridge that crosses the river has partially collapsed.

“The main anchor on one side of the bridge has been swept out of the ground and lies approximately fifty metres away from where it used to be,” Major Scott said.Around the town, 15 field engineers are using backhoes as well as front-end and skid-steer dozers to stabilise the area.Engineers are also helping to clear debris from a local primary school that suffered major structural damage with many walls and large sections of the roof collapsing.

Site supervisor Lieutenant Alex Edgar said the team was keen to get stuck in and start helping the local community.“We are all working really hard to get this site prepared for the Indonesian Army (TNI) to come in and be able to rebuild the school as soon as possible,” Lieutenant Edgar said.

“This is our job, this is what we love doing and being able to help these people is all the satisfaction we need.”Supporting the engineers are firefighters from an Army emergency response section in Darwin and medics from the Sydney-based 1st Health Support Battalion.TNI members have also been assisting and will be responsible for the removal of any human remains.It is expected that the engineers will have completed their work by the end of October.


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