• Tony Bosworth

Up to 80 ADF personnel in Macdonald Valley to help with clean-up – some residents still cut off



Two platoons of Defence Force members will be arriving in the Macdonald Valley Monday morning to help residents struggling with debris or rubbish.


The area was hard hit in the flood emergency and had scant help from anyone but themselves for at least three days until SES help arrived.


One stand-out in the unfolding disaster – though he wouldn’t like attention focussed on him – has been Police Senior Constable Bill Andrews, who along with a handful of locals led caravan park residents to safety and saved them from almost certain drowning at the height of the floods.


The officer – who is based at the Wisemans Ferry police station – has led efforts to get support for locals. On Thursday, RFS personnel helped residents of Walmsley and Settlers Rds with general clean-up task.


Part of the problem in the area continues to be standing water and boggy ground.


“Having been there this morning [Thursday], I am aware of the difficulty in locating the bins without trucks becoming bogged and the need for manpower to undertake the loading of the bins. Some bins may not be able to be delivered,” said Snr Const Andrews.


Today – Sunday – Snr Const Andrews told residents via social media, “I have been informed that two platoons of Defence Force members will be arriving in the area tomorrow morning with some additional skip bins to also be provided and remove the existing bins that are now full from today’s efforts.”


A platoon normally consists of 35 defence force personnel and usually includes a medic and signaller, along with senior staff – making each platoon up to 40 members.

“The Defence Force members will be there primarily to assist those residents who may be struggling with the debris or rubbish due to age/disability, etc,” said Snr Const Andrews.


“Access issues remain regarding the skip bins, however those residents who have indicated they can receive a bin should receive one depending on the availability of truck drivers.


“For those who are unable to receive a bin, I am told that Hawkesbury Council are organising a contractor to attend sometime this week with plant equipment to remove the final debris,” Snr Const Andrews said.


Residents in what is often call The Forgotten Valley, because they are often last on the list for help, are fulsome in their praise of the officer Andrews with one saying on social media today, “this community can’t thank you enough for what you do. A good bloke for sure.”


Meanwhile, some residents at the Leets Vale Caravan Park near Del Rio resort are still cut-off. One resident said on social media this afternoon, “we are isolated and have people there that cannot get in/out without some help please, and there is so much garbage.”


Pic - Defence Dept, Cpl Sagi Biderman


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