Released 20 February 2012
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Australia (February 18, 2912) - In the Australian states of
Queensland and New South Wales, devastating floods have affected large areas,
stranding hundreds of people and causing widespread destruction and loss. In
Queensland, The Salvation Army is supporting those stranded by floodwaters as
well as emergency services personnel and volunteers, while in northern New
South Wales Salvation Army teams and personnel are helping with the clean-up
In New South Wales the flooding began on 2 February. In the town of Moree, a
Salvation Army Emergency Services team responded immediately, serving hundreds
of meals at an evacuation center to evacuees, state emergency services crews
and others for several days.
In Queensland, the hardest-hit towns were St George, Roma, Dalby,
Mitchell and Charleville.
On Sunday 5 February Salvation Army Emergency Services crews from Dalby,
Caboolture and the Gold Coast were flown in an Australian Defence Service
Chinook helicopter to Mitchell, where they served hundreds of meals at an
evacuation center. Captain Mark Bulow (Salvation Army Outback Flying Service
Pilot and corps officer at Dalby) also flew the service's helicopter to
Mitchell, bringing essential supplies for the center.
Salvation Army volunteers served meals at an evacuation center in St George
until most of the town was evacuated to a safer area. A team also flew to
Charleville and served hundreds of breakfasts and lunches at the evacuation
An evacuation center at the RNA Showgrounds in the Queensland capital,
Brisbane, catered for those arriving from inland areas. Salvation Army teams
served meals and assisted with urgent needs.
As the floodwaters recede, Salvation Army personnel and volunteers are
helping residents as they assess the damage and start cleaning up their homes.
'The situation in the evacuation center is starting to ease but much needs to
be done as the recovery process begins,' says Norm Archer, Salvation Army
Emergency Services Director for the Australia Eastern Territory.
'Support will be needed for some time,' adds Captain Chris Shadbolt (corps
officer, Moree). 'Once people head home and see the damage, that's when the
emotional things start to kick in. We want to let the community know we are
still here - even when the clean-up is over.'
It's not all bad news. Captain Bulow is aware that, as water levels lower
throughout the state, people's spirits are lifting. 'A lot of people are
getting back to some sort of normality,' he says. 'Some are getting payments
through so they can start purchasing food and necessities instead of coming to
the evacuation centers for help.'
In Roma, the clean-up has begun and Salvation Army personnel and volunteers
are continuing to offer assistance. Norm Archer affirms: 'We'll continue to
support every affected community as long as we are needed.'