A state in emergency: ADRA responds

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February 10, 2013 – Wahroonga, New South Wales

With flood waters spread across the New South Wales coast, and damaging winds hitting pockets across the state, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Australia has responded by accommodating more than 200 evacuees.

This is the third major disaster ADRA has responded to this year. It has certainly kept us busy and reminded us of the tremendous team of volunteers we have.

Damaging winds and heavy rainfall along the east coast of NSW has resulted in severe wind damage and major flooding in a number of areas along the coast between Byron Bay, in the North and Kiama, in the South. Following the weekend’s emergency a natural disaster declaration has been made in 11 local government areas.

“Across the state our volunteers have gone above and beyond the call of duty,” said Douglas Kieltyka, NSW Disaster Welfare coordinator. “We’ve been active in seven evacuation centres and multiple volunteers have been forced to provide the accommodation services remotely.”

ADRA volunteers, as part of the agencies accommodation program, were active in Kempsey, Nambucca, Macksville, South West Rocks, Port Macquarie and Kiama. In many cases the volunteers have been on duty around the clock.

In Kiama, where winds in excess of 100km/h blew roofs off houses, the asbestos risk forced ADRA staff to operate from their own homes in nearby Nowra in order to secure accommodation for local evacuees.

The program, which has been established in NSW more than 30 years, provides free accommodation to evacuees through ADRA’s official agreements with state government.

“This is the third major disaster ADRA has responded to this year,” said Mr Kieltyka. “It has certainly kept us busy and reminded us of the tremendous team of volunteers we have.”

“While our job is pretty much done for now, our thoughts remain with those affected.”

ADRA holds formal agreements with state governments in New South Wales, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia to provide emergency accommodation during times of disaster.