Satellite images show a devastating reality: whole towns almost completely submerged, the rooftops just poking above muddy waters a suggestion of the lives that have been turned upside down as a result. The floods that have come to devastate NSW and Queensland have been unrelenting, destroying homes and livelihoods in the process.
As flood levels slowly begin to decrease, it’s clear that the clean-up required will be an extensive one, with assistance and support needed for some time as these communities look to rebuild from such a disaster. Not surprisingly, countless Australians are looking for ways to show their support and offer assistance as thousands of people remain displaced and others await evacuation.
Below are all the ways you can provide help to residents in Queensland and NSW who have been affected by the floods.
Rain has finally stopped in Bris & the flood waters are slowly going down. Super grateful it didn’t hit us as bad but I’ve got friends who have been evacuated from their homes & wont be able to go back for weeks.— GreatWhite_Kitty (@GreatWhiteIzzie) March 1, 2022
Absolutely crazy pic.twitter.com/5Fo0ugz5VK
Donate to charities
While support will need to extend beyond the immediate aftermath of the floods and continue for the months and years ahead, donating money is a practical way to offer immediate flood assistance. Major charities like the Australian Red Cross and Vinnies are accepting donations to provide urgent relief and humanitarian support to flood-affected communities.
Generally, clothes, groceries and unwanted goods are not appropriate items to donate unless specifically requested. Instead, check with local recovery committees to see what items are needed and what needs to be done, often they will list specific items that are needed. If you know people who have been personally affected, offer to help with clean-up, or simply washing and drying items to see what can be salvaged.
The Red Cross is coordinating a disaster appeal across both NSW and Queensland. Funds will be used to provide vital humanitarian support, including enabling volunteers and staff to help with evacuations, relief centres, outreach services and ongoing support.
SES and State Fire Services
The national not-for-profit is managing offers of donated goods, services, volunteering and funds, in partnership with the Queensland and NSW governments. Users can donate items, funds or time depending on what specific requests have been made from people and communities affected by storms and flooding.
Local charities are also assisting with Koori Mail releasing a GoFundMe for the Bundjalung communities and missions that have been cut off due to the Lismore floods. Donations will go towards temporary accomodation and emergency supplies.
Experiencing such an event like floods is a traumatic one and the recovery can take months, even years. For those who have lived through natural disasters, support is available. If you know people who have been affected, allow them to talk about their experience even after the volunteers have left. Give them space to share. For those feeling anxious, lonely and distressed, there are also people you can call for 24/7 support.
Lifeline has a team of professional counsellors you can talk to at any time of the day at 1300 22 4636, or you can visit the website and send a direct message or email a counsellor. Lifeline also has a community recovery team who visit communities to provide counselling and psychological first aid in the weeks and months after major weather events.
Headspace helps young Australians suffering from mental health concerns. You can call them on 1800 650 890.
This article was first published on Women’s Health AU.