As we went to press last month, communities across New South Wales and Queensland were steadying themselves and surveying the wreckage left by Cyclone Debbie and subsequent flooding.
Throughout the disaster media outlets from all over the country had raced up north. Morning TV presenters boarded dinghies and zigzagged across deluged main streets, beaming the damage back into inner-city lounge-rooms.
Now, over a month on, the media attention has receded and headlines have moved elsewhere, but the clean up on the ground continues and the financial impact will be ongoing.
Councils were at the forefront of recovery efforts throughout the disaster – providing regular updates to residents and coordinating outreach efforts.
One of the worst hit areas – Whitsunday Regional Council – kept up constant communication with residents and media throughout the storm. The damage bill across the region’s islands is estimated at over $200 million (overall, it’s estimated to surpass $1 billion).
Over 35 local government areas throughout Queensland and New South Wales were impacted and most are eligible for assistance via the Commonwealth-State funded National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA). However, ongoing support is needed and councils are calling for individual donations from across the country.
Tweed Shire in northern New South Wales experienced its worst ever floods – forcing thousands to evacuate their homes and businesses. As detailed on Page 3, the Council has set up a Mayoral Fund to encourage assistance to residents impacted throughout that region.
Not-for-profit GIVIT is running appeals for those affected across both states – allowing those in need to advertise online for specific items (anything from appliances to bedding to furniture or electronics).
Other charities that are providing assistance can be contacted via:
Australian Red Cross Society — 1800 811 700.
The Salvation Army —13 SALVOS (13 72 58).
St Vincent de Paul Society of Queensland — 07 3010 1002.
UnitingCare Community — 1800 001 953.