A few weeks ago, two massive storms converged over eastern Australia dumping more than 40cm of rain in just five days across huge areas along the coastline, and in some cases as much as 80cm. Rivers rose rapidly, some by over 10 metres. Tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate, and many people have lost their homes, many have lost everything.
The flooding stretches 600 kilometres from Sydney to the Northern Rivers as Fiona Johnson, a hydrologist from the water research centre at UNSW explained, “It’s just the sheer scale of having it from the border all the way down south of Sydney.” In areas that suffered severe bushfires just 12 months ago, the storms have continued and compounded the devastation.
Port Macquarie and NSW Mid North Coast swamped as record-breaking floods hit. (Manning River Times: Janine Graham)
One of the cohorts of people hit hardest in several flood impacted areas have been people who were living in caravan parks or sleeping rough in tents. Many caravan parks are used as long-term, temporary or crisis accommodation. They are often ‘housing of last resort’ for people who are unable to access other forms of housing either in the private, public or community housing sectors.
Many of the residents of caravan parks rent and their meagre contents were not insured due to prohibitively expensive fees for flood damage insurance. Some residents have friends and family to stay with but others are now sleeping in cars or sleeping rough.
The clean-up at the Brigadoon Holiday Park at North Haven. (ABC Mid North Coast: Kerrin Thomas)
Emergency Relief Grants
The team at StreetSmart has been speaking with people on the front line of the crisis and reached out to see how we can target support to people who have been severely impacted by the floods in NSW. To help we will be making a small number of local community grants from our new Recovery Fund.
Hastings Neighbourhood Services
“Thank you for reaching out to us. We have had such a lot of people made homeless due to flooding. We have families with multiple children who have no home to return to as they were renting, and landlords are not repairing damage to a liveable standard until their insurance pays up, so the time lag will be immense.” Leesa-rae Harrison, Manager.
Mid Richmond Neighbourhood Centre
“Many people who were sleeping rough in our region were greatly affected, as they set up camps in bushland and tent parks, often near rivers. In some local small towns we have seen flash flooding impacting rough sleepers as the flood water inundated the safe spaces they use. We are providing shelter and warmth through our Neighbourhood Centres and partner organisations. We are seeing an influx of people seeking food and material aid (like blankets and toiletries) as well as warm showers and drying services. We are providing some dignity where people are able to stay comfortably and enjoy a meal.” Jaime Cooper, Manager.
Emergency relief grants of $5,000 will be made immediately to three community based groups, to provide replacements for items lost in the floods, or items just needed for daily living, such as: food vouchers, bedding, nappies, hand sanitiser, clothing, phone cards, tents, backpack beds, laundromat fees, and small electric transport.
- Mid Richmond Neighbourhood Centre – Emergency relief (ER) support across six neighbourhood centres on the North Coast NSW called The Consortium of Neighbourhood Centres (CONC)
- Port Macquarie Neighbourhood Centre – Emergency relief (ER) support across three neighbourhood centres around the Port Macquarie region
- Hawkesbury Helping Hands – Emergency relief (ER) support focused around Windsor and the Hawkesbury valley.
Ms Dunlop is devastated by the flood and says she is “all cried out” for now. (ABC Mid North Coast: Sofie Wainwright)
StreetSmart will make these Recovery Fund Grants immediately and we are looking for like minded philanthropists and donors to act quickly to help match and double the impact. Please contact Adam Robinson on 0488 336419 or adam@streetsmartaustralia for more information.