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PM announces 3000 troops to help in bushfire crisis

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 4/01/2020 Freya Noble

Thousands of reservists from the Australian Defence Force will be mobilised to help with Australia's deadly bushfire crisis.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 3000 troops will be deployed to fire-ravaged communities to assist with evacuations and transporting supplies to remote regions.

"Two star emergency ADF national support co-ordinator Major General Elwood will have national authority over the ADF joint taskforces in each of the affected states working in co-operation to support state emergency authorities," Mr Morrison said.

"We already have two such taskforces established in New South Wales and in Victoria, a third will be stood up for South Australia, but particularly focusing on Kangaroo Island at present, as well as to support what is occurring in Tasmania, and if further are needed further will be established based on what we believe to be the requirement on a move forward basis in other states."

Scott Morrison wearing a suit and tie © 9NEWS Scott Morrison

Mr Morrison said the HMAS Adelaide, the navy's largest amphibious ship, is readied to join the current ships in supporting the evacuation of citizens from fire affected areas along the coastline.

The HMAS Adelaide is equipped for disaster relief and humanitarian aid, and on board will be 400 crew including medical staff, as well as 300 tonnes of emergency relief supplies.

It will leave from Sydney this afternoon.

The Australia Fire Service Council requested an additional water bombing aircraft, and Mr Morrison said the government "committed up to $20 million to lease four extra planes to fulfil that request and to meet any anticipated future requests".

a man holding a bat on top of a dirt field: A man uses a water hose to battle a fire near Moruya. © AP A man uses a water hose to battle a fire near Moruya.

"They asked for one, we gave them four," he said.

Minster for Defence Linda Reynolds said she signed an instrument requesting the Governor-General call out designated army reserve forces this morning.

"Can I say the Government has not taken this decision lightly.

"In fact, it is the first time that reserves have been called out in this way in living memory and, in fact, I believe for the first time in our nation's history," she added.

Pictures: Australia’s most deadly and destructive bushfires

At Microsoft News Australia we've partnered with the giving platform Benevity to raise funds for Australian Red Cross, St Vincent De Paul Society and The Salvation Army; these organisations are helping communities across the country devastated by bushfires. You can help these organisations by donating here and for the latest news and RFS links visit Bushfire emergency.

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