Just when we thought it was safe to emerge from our Covid cocoon, yet another event comes along and makes us rethink everything that we took for granted.
The intense rain and weeks of floods have played havoc with the lives of so many in the Northern Rivers … thousands of houses, businesses, farms, animals and people have been dislocated. Turning sports fields into lakes, roads into impassable goat tracks and tossing peoples lives upside down. The whirlwind response that took off in the community was raw and spontaneous.
Families trekked through muddy waters, and huddled on rooftops. Local pubs opened their doors to evacuees; community halls, clubs and gymnasiums took in wet and hungry souls and became make shift disaster recovery centres. Helicopters, boats and rock climbers assembled - the community surged and volunteers kept the towns afloat for days...and days.
In the weeks that followed volunteers leant helping hands where they could, emptying out and cleaning houses, making food, doing laundry, washing toys, sorting and rescuing furniture and rugs. Plenty of small businesses pivoted to help out or lend their expertise, Ash St Studios set up a space for people to drop off wet and damaged photos and albums and volunteers showed up working quietly trying to save them 🙏 There was an ethereal beauty in the breakdown as the inks melted and merged creating an alternative image.
There are very few people or businesses who have not been impacted by the floods either directly or indirectly -- heartfelt thanks to this beautiful community and the many locals who orchestrated amazing feats, donated time, money, opened their doors, and mucked in to help friends, neighbours or complete strangers. The rainbow region really came together when it was being torn apart ... 🌈
But the adrenalin that surged is on the wane; and the road to recovery will be long and slow, we need to pace ourselves.
As Autumn arrives and the air cools hopefully we will all have time to inhale and breathe a little easier -- whilst doing what we can albeit at a slower pace.
It was pretty clear that our disaster management strategies are far from perfect, we can only hope lessons have been learnt ... In many ways this feels not dissimilar to the bushfire recovery on the far South Coast where my mum lives, those days are etched in my memory too.
For those who aren't local and want to help or volunteer here's a few ideas or current flood raising info and initiatives:)
Byron Flood Recovery
For a general update on flood hubs @floodsrecovery2022
For donations start here:
Lismore City Council - Flood Fund Account
BSB: 062 565
Byron Community Centre/Northern Rivers Flood Relief Fund: https://www.floodrelieffund.org/
Givit for donations of goods and money:https://www.givit.org.au/
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