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East Coast Low: Red Cross checks on residents after the storm

Now the worst of the massive storm that swept along the east coast has passed, communities along the coastline are counting the cost - and Red Cross volunteers are there as residents recover.

Friday June 10, 2016

Collaroy beachfront sustained massive damage from the East Coast Low. Coastal communities along Sydney's northern shore were hit hard by the storm.

As communities across the east coast clean up after last weekend's wild weather, Red Cross volunteers are checking up on residents of the areas hit hardest by the storm, like Sydney's Northern Beaches, Picton and Windang, South of Wollongong.

"We're out in Narrabeen, going from door to door to see if people need any assistance following the huge storm that came through on the weekend," says John, a Red Cross volunteer. "Sometimes it can really help knowing that there's someone to talk to and give you advice and help should you need it."

Red Cross volunteers, John (left) and Bill (right) head out to visit residents in Narrabeen to see who may have been seriously affected by the East Coast Low and who may need further support.

People can have very different experiences of an emergency-even in the same street. Some may have experienced trauma and major destruction, while others aren't impacted at all. Red Cross' outreach activities aim to find out where support is needed most.

With the sun now shining and the grass still green in Narrabeen, there's little evidence to suggest that much of this area was underwater just days before. But even though the floodwaters have gone, the impact of experiencing such an emergency can leave a lasting effect on people.

"The water was the highest it's been in thirty years," said one Narrabeen resident. "The water came right up the street. We were OK but others in the area weren't so lucky."

Either way, an emergency like the floods from the East Coast Low can affect the whole community, whether that's due to mass evacuations like those in Narrabeen or the knowledge that your friends and neighbours have been seriously affected.

"We speak to people in affected areas to gauge who might not be coping well in the aftermath of a disaster," says John. "Their house may have been damaged and they don't know what to do, or they may just be in shock from what they've experienced."

Red Cross volunteers John and Bill talk to a Narrrabeen resident in an area that had been underwater just days before.

"It's important to let people open up," says Red Cross volunteer Bill. "People want to talk. Some may have more to say than others, but everyone who experiences an emergency like these floods has something they want to say. They may even want to vent, but we listen and let them know that they are being heard. Talking about your experience is a very important part of the recovery process."

Tasmania recovers

While New South Wales residents are recovering from the wild weather, record levels of rainfall caused major flooding in the North and North West of Tasmania. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes and Red Cross volunteers have been stationed in evacuation centres to offer psychological first aid and support as they arrived. Red Cross also opened the Register.Find.Reunite. service on Wednesday to help people locate their loved ones after being separated during the storm.

During a crisis, Red Cross volunteers and staff working alongside police, fire and other emergency services, government and community partners to help ensure people affected by disasters are supported.

To help Red Cross provide valuable assistance to people caught up in disasters across Australia and further afield, you can donate to Red Cross' Disaster Relief and Recovery work.

Donations can be made online at or by calling 1800 811 700.If you've been affected by the storms, find out how to clean up after a flood and deal with damage caused by strong winds.