By MAKAYLA MUSCAT
Intense storms and relentless rainfall across the east coast of Australia have caused thousands of people to become displaced from their homes due to flooding.
“A number of evacuation orders are in place and the priority now is making sure people are safe and those who need help get immediate support,” said NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet.
“This is an extremely difficult time for affected communities, but the NSW Government and the entire state are right behind you.”
Tens of thousands of homes and businesses are without power or have been damaged, and road closures are making it difficult for people to access support.
The Salvation Army, Australian Red Cross and GIVIT have all launched appeals to provide humanitarian support for people in flood hit communities and are appealing to the public for donations to assist recovery efforts.
The Salvation Army 2022 Flood Appeal aims to raise $10 million to directly support people in flood-affected areas, and their emergency services teams are currently assisting first responders and evacuees at ten evacuation centres by providing meals and offering emotional support.
“We have seen in the past two years, through bushfires, floods, drought and Covid-19, the spirit of generosity shown in times of hardship. We are calling again on the Australians to help us be there for the incredible number of people displaced by the floods,” said Major Bruce Harmer, National Public Relations Secretary for The Salvation Army.
“Please, if you are able, give.”
According to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Commonwealth financial assistance is now accessible for flood victims in twenty-six local government areas across Queensland and NSW.
These payments will assist employees with short-term income assistance, as well as support eligible adults and children who have significant damage to their homes or have been seriously injured.
From 2pm yesterday, the Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) and Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) became available to residents who have suffered a significant loss in the Queensland areas of Brisbane, Fraser Coast, Gold Coast, Gympie, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Moreton Bay, Noosa, North Burnett, Redlands, Scenic Rim, Somerset, South Burnett, Southern Downs, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba.
Financial support has also been activated for residents affected in NSW, in Ballina, Bellingen, Byron, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Tweed.
Yesterday, NSW recorded its first death of the disaster, after the body of an elderly woman was found inside a flooded Lismore home. This takes the death toll to nine since the floods began last month.
Emergency services are overstretched as Sydneysiders are being urged to prepare for the worst. With up to 200 millimetres of rainfall predicted in some areas between Newcastle and Eden today, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has issued another severe weather warning.
As the east coast low continues to track south in NSW, flooding is expected to extend further south to the Central Coast, Sydney, Illawarra and the South Coast.
For more information on support available, visit servicesaustralia.gov.au/disaster.