An all-female medical team has been deployed for the first time in RAAF history to support tropical cyclone Seroja relief efforts.
The group, headed by Flight Lieutenant Samantha Warren, are from No. 3 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and were assisting WA’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services
“I hope young women will see us and be empowered to push themselves out of their comfort zone to achieve what they set their heart on,” FLTLT Warren said.
“The team and I worked in conjunction with our civilian counterparts in assessing the health response required for Kalbarri and Geraldton.
“We then remained on standby should a large-scale aeromedical evacuation be required.
“For me it is not so much about being an all-female crew, it is about having the best team for the job who are qualified, professional and skilled.”
The team consisted of nursing officers FLTLT Warren and Squadron Leader Sharon Johnson, medical technicians Flight Sergeant Symon Yeates and Corporal Caitlin Kinny, and medical officers Flight Lieutenant Maggy Wong and Flight Lieutenant Joanne Mackson.
SQNLDR Johnson said she was glad to learn that Geraldton Hospital had not been overwhelmed by mass injuries.
“The Kalbarri region has been completely devastated by destruction of homes and buildings,” SQNLDR Johnson said.
“It was heart breaking to see all the destruction caused by the cyclone but I was relieved to hear that more people were not injured.
“The region was very lucky in that aspect and I’m proud to play a small part in its recovery.”
Earlier this month, Australian Aviation reported how a RAAF C-17A Globemaster has delivered five emergency service vehicles to WA to support communities affected by tropical cyclone Seroja.
The aircraft, operated by No. 36 Squadron, flew the cargo from Melbourne to Geraldton on 19 April.
So far, the cyclone has destroyed or completely damaged 170 residential properties and businesses, while a further 491 have received more moderate damage.
The Globemaster’s help follows RAAF also shifting a C-130J Hercules from RAAF Base Richmond to RAAF Base Pearce in WA.
It’s been moving personnel and supplies including food, water and generators, and can also move casualties back to civilian hospitals for treatment if needed.