10 November, 2022

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: November 17

The Lachlan River in Central NSW is set to hit a 70-year peak today, causing dangerous flooding and cutting off access to towns like Forbes. The river is expected to reach 10.8m.

ADRA is partnering with local Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Dubbo, Parkes and Bathurst to support local communities who have been affected by the floods.

“Residents from surrounding towns are coming into Dubbo trying to find assistance,” says Jay Pulelisi, pastor of Dubbo Seventh-day Adventist Church. Through the church pantry, Mr Pulelisi is looking to support one of his local contacts that is currently cooking and distributing meals to those affected. An emergency centre has not yet been established in Dubbo, so the meals are feeding up to 40 people who are camping in a local car park. ADRA is partnering with the church to help ensure they receive adequate funds to continue to provide not only meals, but also food hampers.

The food pantry in Bathurst provides the local community with 120-150 food hampers each month. However, the church is anticipating this demand will increase following the floods. ADRA funding is anticipated to support the food pantry in meeting these needs.

The Central Tablelands Food Pantry, which is a combined effort of Bathurst, Mandurama, and Cowra Seventh-day Adventist Churches, provides monthly free food hampers to 23 public schools. This immediate response has been made possible thanks to the connection the churches had already established with their local communities.

Pastor Lorenzo Berry of Parkes Seventh-day Adventist Church is anticipating the needs in the town of Eugowra when the roads reopen. Through assessing the needs of the area, cash grants have been identified as the most effective way to support those affected.

 

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: May 23

Below is a video update on ADRA’s flood response since the initial flooding event, and looking forward to our recovery process.

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: May 19

While the flood waters may have subsided and the general rubble picked up and sent to the local rubbish dump, many people are still deeply affected. Many people were not insured or under-insured. And even for those insured, many have been told it will take 18 months to two years to be able to have their homes restored to a liveable condition. In the meantime, they live in temporary accommodation including caravans, trailer homes, sheds, etc. The toll on mental and emotional health is high.

ADRA is coordinating with the Tweed Shire Council who have identified eight caravan parks in Chinderah which were seriously impacted by the floods and housing residents in need of additional personal support. A private builder from Adelaide has driven up to Brisbane and is preparing to go to Murwillumbah, where he will be located to help support home renovation work for those most disadvantaged by the floods, including the residents in caravan homes. ADRA will collaborate with local churches in the area to identify ways to support not just house renovations, but personalised help and psychosocial support as needed.

Earlier in the month, two volunteers from Hervey Bay spent two weeks volunteering for ADRA to provide psychosocial support to residents of Woodburn impacted by the floods. They both have expertise in community social work, and their empathetic listening ears were deeply appreciated there. While there, they identified direct needs that individuals and families had and were able to purchase items to meet these needs, such as providing a new set of workshop tools for one man who lost them all in the floods.

ADRA is now seeking volunteers with building expertise (carpentry, electrical, plumbing, etc.) who are willing to volunteer a week or two of their time. We are also seeking volunteers who have expertise in counselling or are willing to learn basic skills in psychosocial first aid and able to volunteer their time to work alongside those helping in house renovation activities.

To date, over 1,100 people affected by the floods have received emergency cash assistance.

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: March 28

Ipswich Seventh-day Adventist Church has been heavily involved in the clean up efforts, but also in facilitating the distribution of individual cash grants to affected individuals. Here are some of the people ADRA has been able to support!

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: March 24

During the recent weather event, ADRA worked with Moreton Bay Regional Council to support the community by opening Watson Park as an Evacuation Centre. At the peak, we assisted in temporary housing for 43 people, 6 dogs and 2 cats. We were opened for 8 days and visited by various agencies within the disaster management sector including Red Cross, Department Communities, and Queensland Ambulance.

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: March 21

Weeks after record-breaking floods swept through much of NSW and QLD, locals are still trying to come to grips with the aftermath. ADRA teams have been on the ground, helping affected communities clean up and process the destruction 🙏

Watch ADRA’s clean up response in Gympie

There is still a long road ahead and affected communities need our help. The next stage in ADRA’s response will include supporting mental health and wellbeing. To donate, visit adra.org.au/donate

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: March 16

At the height of the floods, water had completely covered John’s two storey home.

John’s place in south Queensland

Not only were all of John’s belongings ruined, but he lost 150 bee hives. These same beehives were John’s business.

ADRA is supporting John to help him get back on his feet. Sadly, John is one of many in his community who will be working to recover from these floods for months to come. To support ADRA’s response to the floods, please donate at adra.org.au/donate

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: March 15

It has been almost a month since when the worst flooding event in decades swept through much of New South Wales and south Queensland. In all areas, flood waters have now receded and most clean up activities have concluded. However, many homes are still uninhabitable and the need for mental health support is widespread.

Here is a summary of the collective efforts for the past few weeks.

South Queensland:

The ADRA Nambour Op Shop has completed clean-up activities in Gympie, and Ipswich Church has completed clean-up activities in their area with the support of ADRA.

The clean up efforts in Gympie

Gold Coast Central Church is implementing delivery of food parcels to those in need in their area, with support from the ADRA Logan Op Shop and ADRA. Park Ridge Church is conducting food deliveries to affected people in their local area with the support of ADRA. Eden’s Landing Church is also conducting food services to first responders and clean up volunteers in their area with ADRA’s support.

There have been multiple expressions of need for psycho-social support and expressions of interest in the ADRA Disaster Ready Church Program.

North New South Wales:

At this stage, ADRA has allocated emergency response funds to Casino, Lismore, Ballina, Alstonville, Mullumbimby, Murwillumbah, Bray Park, Kingscliff, The Vine, and Tumbulgum churches to support their local community response.

Conference ADRA Director David Haupt was able to source and deliver 23 air mattresses to the evacuation centre in Lismore. The mattresses were sourced from BCF at discounted price of $25 per item.

So far, there have been three deliveries from the ADRA Community Centre in Logan, two of food and one with kitchen and hygiene supplies.

Delivery of supplies to Lismore Church from ADRA in Logan

One load of food was delivered to Lismore, one to Casino, and the non-food items were delivered to Mullumbimby. On all occasions, local churches have organised volunteers to unload and distribute the goods to those in need in the community.

Sanitarium has pledged to donate food supplies for 4,000 families. Delivery will be on 17 March 2022.

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: March 11

A team from Ipswich Seventh-day Adventist Church helped flood-affected residents on Wednesday (March 2) with the monumental task of cleaning up after the floods swept through their homes.

The volunteers led by Pr Dayne Habermann (centre, crouching over)

Their response involved removing flood-damaged goods as well as cleaning walls and floors.

Helping to remove flood-damaged items

Helping to remove flood-damaged items

The team will be continuing their support in the community.

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: March 9

On Wednesday March 8, 25 volunteers from Brisbane, Landsborough, Nambour, Gympie and Toowoomba turned out to help with the clean up effort in Gympie.

“The first thing we noticed as we drove into Gympie was the mud line on the trees next to the highway,” says Pr Steve Ward, the pastor for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nambour. “As we came into town [the mud line] was about 5 to 6 metres above the road.”

Helping to clean up a variety store where the water rose as high as 5m. Photo: Charmaine Patel

The team of volunteers split into a three groups and went around the community, asking if they could assist locals in cleaning their properties.

“The first thing we were confronted with was the devastation that this town has faced over the past couple of weeks and the incredible community spirit in helping with the clean-up efforts,” Pr Ward says.

The first group went to the RSL and asked if they knew of any veterans that needed support. The team received three names and set out to work. One particular gentleman they came across had lost a significant amount of his valuables. The team offered him support and cleaning help.

The second team went downtown where the water had flooded the main street up to five metres.

The locals had moved possessions to the second storey, expecting them to be safe, only to have 1.5 metres of water come through the top storey of their buildings, destroying everything.

“It soon became obvious that the downtown district was the area that could use the most help and support,” says Pr Ward. “By the time we arrived, most of the shops had cleared out all their possessions and so rather than moving furniture and goods, our role became pressure washing and cleaning muddy walls, muddy floors, ceilings, and racking.”

Around 11am. the team started up a BBQ and began to cook 10kg of sausages that had been donated by a local butcher. They began to feed the volunteers and those working in the district lunch.

The free BBQ set up for volunteers and locals. Photo: Charmaine Patel

“As the smell of the BBQ began to drift, the locals saw “free food” and as many of them hadn’t eaten all day it became a very welcome sight,” Pr Ward says.

Unfortunately, flooding is not a new phenomenon for the locals in Gympie. But the severity of these floods caught everyone by surprise.

Craig, the owner of one of the town’s pubs, shared that he was watching the flood rise from the upper storey of his pub with all of his possessions, even throwing beers across to another building to other residents also sitting to “wait out the storm”. Until the water began to rise so high that it began coming into the second storey. “When the water had reached about a foot into my second storey, I had to climb out of my building to be rescued by SES,” Craig says.

Craig shared with Pr Ward that because the insurance for their buildings are around $100k per annum, and these flood events only happen every decade or so, then financially it is better off for businesses to wear the cost and rebuild rather than pay the cost of insurance.

With all this however, Craig says he should have the front bar open to the public by next Friday but the bistro will take up to three months before it can operate again.

Another store that a large portion of our team helped to clean was a variety store which was coated in thick mud. The team began to wash, hose, dismantle and clean shelves, pressure wash and broom the mud from floors, walls and even the ceiling.

The variety store was awash with mud. Photo: Charmaine Patel

“The shop owner was so grateful for the help and said that he cannot thank us enough and wished us all the best as we left,” Pr Ward shares. “As with any major event like this there are too many stories [to share] and it must be witnessed to appreciate what the town is struggling with.”

To support ADRA’s flood response, visit adra.org.au/donate

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: March 8

How wonderful are our Op Shops? Not only do they support their local community by providing affordable goods and a smile to everyone who walks through their doors, but we are thrilled to share that six of our ADRA Op Shops have donated a total of $144,500 to support our flood response in QLD and NSW. The six Op Shops who were able to give were ADRA Op Shops Morisset, Ulverstone, Glenorchy, Victor Harbor, Guyra, and Albury.

Morisset Op Shop volunteers with ADRA Australia & New Zealand CEO Denison Grellman (third from left)

 

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: March 7

On Saturday morning, instead of meeting for church, Gold Coast Central Church members packed 50 food hampers to distribute to those who have been affected by the floods.

The volunteers who packed 50 hampers for those affected by floods

In coordination with Kingscliff church, 43 hampers were distributed directly to those in need in Fingal, a flood affected town on the Tweed River. The remaining 7 hampers were delivered to the emergency evacuation centre in Murwillumbah.

The team received the following thanks from a grateful recipient. “Thank you so much! I have nothing to eat and no money to buy any food. I’m going to church next week!”

To support ADRA’s flood response, visit adra.org.au/donate

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: March 3

Seventh-day Adventist Churches in North New South Wales and South Queensland are partnering with ADRA to support their communities through this crisis. Residents from Lismore to Kingscliff are experiencing food and drinkable water shortages due to flooding and M1 closures. Towns like Gympie have been completely cut off by flood water for five days, and the town of Casino is receiving supplies by military helicopters as the region has run out of food and fuel and is inaccessible by road.

Sanitarium Health Foods is generously supporting ADRA Australia’s flood response efforts. Two Sanitarium deliveries will be made to Kingscliff Church and Ocean Shores Church for distribution to the wider community.

North New South Wales:

Lismore Seventh-day Adventist Church has been transformed into an emergency evacuation centre. With flood waters around the church subsiding, they were able to receive a delivery of food from South Queensland, using the truck from the ADRA Community Care Centre in Logan.

Unloading desperately needed food supplies at Lismore Church

The delivery was received with much gratitude as all across northern New South Wales communities are experiencing food shortages. The Lismore Church also set up a pop up clothing stall to allow those affected by the floods to access clothing they need.

Lismore’s pop up clothing ‘shop’

NSW border churches are combining resources and working with council to respond to the flood crisis. Kingscliff Church has become the main church where people are going for help. The church is eagerly awaiting its upcoming Sanitarium delivery.

South Queensland:

Another weather system swept through the Lockyer Valley all the way to the coast, triggering another round of flooding in soaked areas. Flood sirens could be heard in the background when the South Queensland coordinator was on the phone with representatives from Gatton and Mary River.

Park Ridge Church are creating a drop-in centre, providing meals, food hampers, WiFi and an opportunity for individuals and families to take a breather and to debrief as needed.

ADRA Logan delivers supplies to support Park Ridge Church

As of Monday next week, a pop-up clothing outlet will be established to provide clothing to those who have lost their belongings to the flood waters. Also starting next week, Eden’s Landing Church will be providing food to first responders and volunteers who are helping with clean up efforts.

ADRA is supporting a joint effort between the South Queensland Conference Youth, Nambour and Landsborough, and Gympie to deliver clean up equipment and volunteers to Gympie as soon as the road north becomes passable. The first team of volunteers departed on this morning (3 March 2022).

The Logan ADRA Community Centre is collaborating with the Logan City Council to provide hot meals, including distributing pies that were donated by Four’N Twenty. The council building is being used as a coordination hub.

Gold Coast Church will spend Saturday morning packing and distributing approximately 40 food parcels to the local community. Ipswich Church has conducted a clean-up response and will exploring the resources for further operations.

If you’d like to help our flood response, please donate at adra.org.au/disasters.

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: March 2

South Queensland:

After the devastating floods in Gympie from 24 – 27 February 2022, affecting most of South-West Queensland, the city of Gympie was completely cut off by flood waters.

The flooding in Gympie

The church was closed for its Saturday morning service due to the extent of the flood. On Saturday, Pr Steve Hebbard and church members along with community members were able help move stock from local businesses to avoid rising flood waters. By Sunday, many of these businesses went completely under. On Sunday, church members were also volunteering to help in evacuation centres by supplying blankets, bedding and food to isolated communities. The clean up efforts continued on Monday and Tuesday, removing water damaged stock, furniture, shop fittings, carpets and washing mud and debris from the floors of flood affected buildings all around the Gympie area.

Pr Steve Hebbard (left) and the ADRA volunteers helping with the clean up efforts

A large clean up effort is planned for Gympie on Thursday, March 3.

If you’d like to help our flood response, please donate at adra.org.au/disasters.

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: March 1

South Queensland: The water is continuing to rise in a number of places, including Gympie, creating flooding worse than those experienced in 2010/2011. The areas around Mary River are experiencing similar levels of flooding.

The areas around Mary River are experiencing similar levels of flooding.

ADRA has clean-up teams of volunteers preparing to head to Gympie on Thursday, with another team preparing to begin clean up operations in Toowoomba. The Seventh-day Adventist Churches of Gatton and Landsborough have registered as evacuation centres, and the ADRA program in Gatton is providing free breakfasts and dinners to those affected.

Clean up efforts beginning in Gympie

North New South Wales: The flooding in Lismore far exceeds the 2017 records caused by Cyclone Debbie. For many residents, the emotional trauma is creating greater upheaval than the physical loss of belongings or damage to property. For some, this is the second time in five years they will have to rebuild. While ADRA is responding to the immediate physical needs of those affected, there are plans in place to run the Emotional Resilience Program to respond to the mental health needs of the community.

UPDATE on ADRA’s Flood Response: February 28

ADRA is working with local churches to provide assistance and shelter to those who have been affected by flooding in QLD and NSW.

A slow moving weather system over southern Queensland and north New South Wales has seen previously unrecorded levels of rain and flooding across large parts of both states. Flood levels in Gympie peaked at 23 metres (the highest ever recorded) and the town is currently surrounded by flood waters that are not expected to recede until Thursday or Friday of this week. ADRA is preparing supplies and equipment in Nambour to be transported to Gympie as soon as possible. In the Lockyer Valley, where flood levels have exceeded those of 2011, the Gatton SDA Church is running an evacuation centre serving the worst affected.

ADRA volunteers in Gatton preparing food for people affected by the flooding

We are also currently preparing a response for those affected in Lismore and Ballina, with a base in Alstonville and supported by the Ballina ADRA Op Shop.

If you’d like to help our flood response, please donate at adra.org.au/disasters