8 Jan 2011

NZ team set to leave for flood-hit Queensland

12:47 pm on 8 January 2011

The first-ever New Zealand Civil Defence team to be deployed internationally was heading to flood-hit Queensland on Saturday.

About 22 cities or towns in the Australian state have been inundated by floods and more heavy rain is forecast.

Civil Defence Minister John Carter says the Government is pleased to be able to assist Australia during this difficult time.

The 15-strong team is being sent to the Condamine district, about three hours from Brisbane.

They will be assigned tasks by local Civil Defence authorities, including cleaning up and helping people to get back into their homes.

Mr Carter says the team is experienced, with many members receiving high acclaim for their work following the 7.1-magnitude Canterbury earthquake in September last year.

Team leader Shane Briggs says volunteers will also have to cope with high temperatures and high humidity, as well as snakes and insects they are not used to.

The team is expected to be in Queensland for up to two weeks.