Engineers bridge gap left by Hurricane Igor

Friday, October 01, 2010

Trouty, Newfoundland and Labrador — The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, surveyed hurricane damage in a CH-124 Sea King helicopter September 27. Before returning to base, he paid a surprise visit to Trouty, a community hit hard by Hurricane Igor.

Paved roads, bridges, culverts and even a home had failed to withstand the raging onslaught of water. “I’ve lived here 22 years and never seen anything like this,” said Harold Stanley, a long time resident. “The fella’s house was washed away and never to be seen again.”

Community members believe Hurricane Igor has washed the beauty away from their tiny bit of paradise, but Minister MacKay reassured the residents that help was on its way. The following day, the rebuilding had begun under the humanitarian assistance operation, Op LAMA.

Once the road and pad preparation were completed, sappers from 4 Engineer Support Regiment (4 ESR) at CFB Gagetown and Reservists from 56 Engineer Squadron, St. John’s, joined one padre at the crack of dawn to begin the process of assembling a medium girder bridge with a military load capacity of 70 tons.

CF engineers installed a medium girder bridge to reconnect the small community of Trouty to the mainland after Hurricane Igor destroyed the only bridge providing access in and out the town.

“A large number of reservists are out doing other things today: route recces, culvert checks and meeting with the locals,” said LCol Goodman, Commanding Officer of 4 ESR. “I think this is a perfect example of where the Reserves and the Regular force can come together in an environment where, really, we’re counting on them, because they have the local knowledge [and] local understanding of the situation. So they can really be our face in the public in a combined Army team.”

Later in the day, the completed bridge spanned the 70-metre gap.

“I think having the Army here is a Godsend,” said a woman, who did not want to be identified.

Article by Sergeant Todd Berry, Army News

CF provides assistance in Hurricane Igor aftermath

Friday, October 01, 2010

Argentia, NL — Operation LAMA is the joint Canadian Forces (CF) response to Hurricane Igor, which struck the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) on September 20.  Army, Navy and Air Force personnel are contributing to the relief efforts in several isolated southern and eastern communities.

The primary task was to airlift food, water and supplies into communities that were cut off when roads were severely damaged by the ravaging storm. Over 800 Regular Force members and 200 Reservists have been deployed.

Among the first to respond were three CH 124 Sea King Helicopters assigned to conduct humanitarian assistance and support the damage assessment effort. Navy assessment teams and landing parties were met by cheers in many small communities as they came ashore.

Naval assets were diverted from other tasks to support the helicopter lift, as well to assess needs for the humanitarian effort. Land resources, primarily from CFB Gagetown, included 4 Engineer Support Regiment (ESR), which provided water purification facilities and heavy assets such as bridging equipment.

The CF response also included reserve personnel from units assigned to be part of the CF Domestic Operations Response Unit. These personnel were from 1 and 2 Royal Newfoundland Regiment, 56 Engineer Squadron and 3 ASG Signals Squadron, activated to provide additional personnel. Canadian Forces Station St. John's also provided logistics support and a staging area for equipment and personnel.

3 Area Support Group dispatched a tactical headquarters unit and an engineering recce team. 14 Wing Greenwood provided a CP-140 Aurora aircraft to conduct recon flights over NL and gather imagery which was provided to the NL Fire and Emergency Services (FES). The Air Force also provided a CC-177 Globemaster III from Trenton to airlift field ambulances from Gagetown and helicopter support pack-ups and personnel.
Initial assessments reported damage, including a wash out in Trouty, which was an incredible 80 meters wide and 24 meters deep, and demonstrated an urgent need for heavy equipment.

4 ESR from Gagetown sailed for NL via ferry, arriving with much-needed bridging equipment on the same day that a CC-177 with field ambulances and support pack-ups for the Sea King helicopters arrived in Gander.

Some of the areas most heavily hit by the storm were the Burin and Bonavista peninsulas. A CP-140 Aurora was tasked to conduct a recce of the area while HMCS Montreal, HMCS Fredericton and HMCS St. John's took up positions off the coast of the Burin and Bonavista peninsulas and began visiting a number of small out ports, landing assessment teams and delivering food, water and urgently required supplies.
HMCS Fredericton deployed off the North coast of the Bonavista peninsula preparing to support helicopter flight ops, while HMCS St. John's deployed further to the south off the Burin Peninsula in the same role.

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