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Australian troops deployed through fire-ravaged state
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21:50, February 09, 2009

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Hundreds of Australian defense troops were deployed throughout fire-ravaged Victoria on Monday to help the state cope with the deadliest natural disaster in the national history.

More than 200 troops began delivering specialist and emergency support, with wide-ranging duties including clearing roads, searching houses and setting up tents, according to a report by Australian Associated Press.

Some 100 soldiers will have the grim task of "search and recovery" assistance, going through burnt-out homes and cars looking for the bodies of those who've perished in the fires, the report said.

These troops will make up a Victorian-based Australian Defense Force (ADF) joint task force under the command of Brigadier Michael Arnold, providing engineering support and a reserve response force.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd pledged on Monday his government would "use all our resources to help those people who have lost so much in the fires and will be constantly monitoring the situation to respond to and meet their needs."


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