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Cyclone Marcia, Queensland: February 2015


Cyclone Marcia hit the Queensland coast hard. In the face of an emergency on such a wide scale, the Red Cross response was immediate and significant. During the event and in the weeks that followed, hundreds of staff and volunteers worked tirelessly, providing help and support to thousands of people across the region's worst affected areas.

 

What happened?

Cyclone Marcia made landfall early on Friday 20 February 2015 as a category-five system. It pounded the Queensland coastline with devastating 285kph winds, storm surges and heavy rainfall. The cyclone hit the areas between Yeppoon and Rockhampton the hardest, causing widespread damage to homes, disruption to livelihoods and leaving thousands without power.

How did Red Cross help?

Assisting those needing shelter

Even as the cyclone approached and people began to evacuate their homes, Red Cross staff and volunteers were ready to help. Red Cross workers were stationed in evacuation centres in Yeppoon, Rockhampton and Bribie Island, and gave immediate support and assistance to those seeking refuge from the cyclone.

Even as the cyclone approached and people began to evacuate their homes, Red Cross staff and volunteers were ready to help. Red Cross workers were stationed in evacuation centres in Yeppoon, Rockhampton and Bribie Island, and gave immediate support and assistance to those seeking refuge from the cyclone.

Helping people through difficult times

Emergency situations can be incredibly stressful, disruptive and traumatic for those involved. As people sought shelter from Cyclone Marcia, Red Cross provided much-needed psychological first aid to make sure people's emotional wellbeing and practical needs were being looked after.

But it didn't stop there; Red Cross continued to provide psychological first aid in the aftermath of the disaster. During numerous visits to outlying communities, recovery hubs and the Rockhampton Library 'chill out' zone, Red Cross helped to improve people's capacity to recover by offering valuable support and practical information about dealing with disaster.

Connecting friends and family

As the severity of the cyclone escalated, Red Cross launched Register.Find.Reunite, the vital service that helps reunite friends and families separated by disaster. Red Cross had staff and volunteers working across the region who registered more than 300 people and took over 70 enquiries from people looking for loved ones.

As the severity of the cyclone escalated, Red Cross launched Register.Find.Reunite, the vital service that helps reunite friends and families separated by disaster. Red Cross had staff and volunteers working across the region who registered more than 300 people and took over 70 enquiries from people looking for loved ones.

Visiting affected communities

In the days and weeks following, staff and volunteers made numerous visits to smaller towns and communities affected by Cyclone Marcia.

This outreach work enabled Red Cross to identify the needs of people unable to travel to recovery centres or those in remote areas. In 138 shifts, Red Cross provided information, support and psychological first aid to over 1,200 members of the most-affected communities.

Distributing food vouchers

Red Cross was called upon by the Queensland Government to distribute the $200 food vouchers for those without power for over seven days. With a limited amount of time, Red Cross staff and volunteers worked tirelessly in recovery hubs across the region and succeeded in distributing vouchers to around 54,000 eligible people.

Long-term recovery

Red Cross will continue to work in the regions affected by Cyclone Marcia and will support people and communities on their long road to recovery.

Stories from Cyclone Marcia

"Red Cross was a godsend."

Central Queensland man David Dunkinson says he hates to think where he would have ended up if it wasn't for the support of Red Cross after Tropical Cyclone Marcia smashed across his town. Read more »

"I just want to be useful."

Witnessing the destruction caused by Brisbane's 2011 floods from the distance of New Zealand was a turning point in Sarah Rota's life. When Cyclone Marcia hit Central Queensland in February this year, she put up her hand to help in Red Cross' recovery efforts. Read more »

"I believe in listening. I never give advice: I listen all the time."

Hemi Taiapa has been at the front line as a volunteer aid worker in Australia and around the world for more than 20 years-and he's still one of the first people Red Cross sends out when a disaster strikes. Read more »

"I love working for Red Cross and caring for all of our people."

Red Cross Aboriginal liaison volunteer, Leslie Lowe, says many people he works with are uncomfortable seeking support after an emergency, but feel reassured when they see the Red Cross emblem.  Read more »