Update: ADRA helping out in Qld/NSW flood regions

Pastor David Asscherick and his Kingscliff NSW congregation were forced to reconsider if, where and when church meetings would be held. (Photo: Chris Hess)

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ADRA is continuing to assist people affected by Cyclone Debbie and flooding in Queensland and Northern NSW.

ADRA emergency volunteers have been hard at work across the hardest hit regions.

Evacuation centre staff at Kingscliff, NSW, have not only housed almost 200 people in need, they have also taken on the responsibility of catering for 150 people staying in the evacuation centre, as well as providing a transport service to motels for accommodated evacuees.

Kingscliff church members and visiting Arise students pitched in together to produce meals from the church kitchen.

“Communities have been isolated by the rivers which have cut main access roads, so they are banding together to meet the needs of others in the community, proving Kingscliff is both a resilient and caring community,” said Janice Frey, ADRA NSW Emergency Coordinator.

ADRA has been working at Lismore’s evacuation centre, helping organise accommodation for people displaced by floodwaters.

The Lismore Evacuation Centre was led by ADRA Emergency Management volunteer Chris Markey.  The centre has been open since last Thursday and has accommodated about 200 evacuees. On Monday they received a visit from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and other politicians. 

In Northern Queensland, ADRA has been hard at work helping people in cyclone-affected areas. 

On Friday, ADRA staff and volunteers chartered a small plane from Townsville to Bowen to distribute 500 litres of water and two generators.

Volunteers helped local residents with clean up efforts by removing fallen trees and branches with chainsaws.

The ADRA team assisted two families who required generators until their power came back on. [pullquote]

The team also helped some elderly locals who were struggling with the vegetation clean up. 

On Monday, the team spent the day working on three properties in Hideaway Bay and Dingo Beach, near Proserpine. Two generators were placed at households that urgently needed power, including the homes of a man who suffers from MS and another elderly couple.

ADRA will continue working at the impact zone to clear debris and to receive volunteer teams who will be organised from local church volunteers over the coming weeks.

South Queensland Conference ADRA Director Irena Larking said ADRA in South Queensland is working closely with local Seventh-day Adventist churches to identify the needs.

All Adventist churches in the affected areas of South Queensland Conference have been contacted to let them know that ADRA Australia is here to assist, where able, in addition to the support provided by disaster management agencies.

If you know anyone who needs assistance, in addition to what disaster management agencies are providing, or you would like to volunteer, please contact your local Adventist church pastor. We are working with local church pastors to co-ordinate assistance as we are able.

Click here to support ADRA’s response to Cyclone Debbie. Your gift to ADRA’s Disaster Preparedness and Response Fund will support emergency response efforts all around Australia.

Details below from Friday 31 March.

ADRA emergency management teams are responding to major flooding in northern New South Wales and southeast Queensland that has occurred as a result of a weather system associated with ex-cyclone Debbie.

Muddy floodwaters reach the ocean near Gold Coast, Queensland. (Photo: Benjamin Macht)

ADRA volunteers at the Kingscliff Evacuation Centre in NSW’s Northern Rivers region helped more than 150 people find emergency accommodation on Thursday.

ADRA NSW Emergency Coordinator Janice Frey said flooded roads and full motels were proving a challenge. “There are a lot of people in evacuation centres and we’re accommodating as many as we can. But road access and motel capacity are significant problems. Cancelled flights and extra SES personnel in the area mean many motels are full.”

Floodwaters cover a road and backyard fence in Murwillumbah, NSW. (Photo credit: Rosie Smith)

At Kyogle Adventist church, ADRA volunteers have accommodated three people, while church members and community organisations have banded together to assist flood evacuees by preparing dozens of meals in the church kitchen.

ADRA has an active presence helping evacuees find accommodation at other Evacuation Centres in Lismore, Benora Point and Ocean Shores.

ADRA’s role in evacuation centres in NSW is to provide accommodation for people in motels in the first few days after a disaster. ADRA works closely with the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) at the centres.

The bridge over the Tweed River into Murwillumbah is still in operation.

South Queensland Conference ADRA Director Irena Larking said despite significant rainfall over the past few days, the situation appeared to be calm.

“Yesterday we had one distressed phone call from two families in Gladstone, but they are okay now,” Ms Larking said.

“We’re working closely with local churches and pastors who are feeding information to us. Once we know the needs we can assess and help where we can.”

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