After heavy rainfall caused unprecedented flooding in New South Wales and Queensland with an estimated damage of $A2 billion so far, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) volunteers and local Adventist church members are joining efforts to assist the flood-ravaged communities.
With most flood waters beginning to recede last Thursday (March 3), many church members dedicated the weekend to meet the urgent needs in the community.
In the Lockyer Valley (Qld), Gatton Adventist Church is running an evacuation centre serving the worst affected since the start of the flood. Volunteers have also provided meals, clothing and bedding items to the community.
Assisting the impacted community with the clean-up, members of Innovation Adventist Church from North Lakes dedicated their Sabbath to help a family that lost everything to the floods. Ipswich church gathered volunteers and organised a community clean-up operation on Sunday.
According to a recent report from ADRA, due to flooding and M1 closures, a severe food shortage started to develop in the north region of NSW from Kingscliff to Lismore on March 1, with food, water and fuel listed as the primary needs.
On Saturday morning, instead of meeting for church, Gold Coast Central Adventist Church members packed 50 food hampers, of which 43 were distributed directly to those in need in Fingal Head. The remaining seven hampers were delivered to the emergency evacuation centre in Murwillumbah. Kingscliff Church assisted with the distribution.
The team received a special thanks from one of the grateful recipients. “Thank you so much! I have nothing to eat and no money to buy any food. I’m going to church next week!”
In Lismore (NSW), the church— transformed into an emergency evacuation centre—received a full load of non-perishable food items on March 3. A team of volunteers helped to unload the truck by hand.
Other food shortage responses are being organised. Sanitarium Health Food Company has offered to donate food supplies for 12,000 families that will be delivered at Kingscliff and Ocean Shores Adventist churches and distributed across the north NSW affected region.
In Murwillumbah, volunteers split their efforts last Thursday (March 3) to assist the clean up at the church and the community. On Sabbath, the church held a shorter Sabbath service where members shared testimonies and left at 10:30am to assist the community by delivering food and helping with the clean-up.
With the situation still developing and potential further flash flooding, church members are being encouraged to pray for the affected areas.