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Heavy rainfall creates challenges in Queensland


Heavy rainfall has led to flooding, road closures and some evacuations in parts of the state.

Wednesday January 25, 2012

Queensland registration
Red Cross is providing support in evacuation centres.

Heavy rainfall in Queensland has led to flooding, road closures and some evacuations in a number of parts of the state, many of them the same areas that were severely impacted by flooding in 2011.

Red Cross consultant psychologist, Dr. Rob Gordon, a specialist in disaster relief and recovery, said today that the extreme weather would bring back bad memories for thousands of Queenslanders who were still on their recovery journey from last year's devastating floods.

"Fortunately, in most areas the current heavy rainfall appears to have not been as damaging as in 2011. Nonetheless, this will still be a stressful time for many people given roughly one year ago they faced some of the worst floods in Australia's history," said Dr. Gordon.

"People in areas affected by the recent rainfall can reduce their stress by being careful to distinguish between the current situation and what they faced one year ago. Bad experiences tend to be lumped together when in fact they are not the same.

"We are urging people to seek reliable information about the conditions in their local area so the differences between this year and last year are clear in their minds. People are then in the best position to make decisions about their own physical and emotional wellbeing in line with the risks they face today.

"Personal support from friends and family will be very important for providing assurance at this difficult time. Talking about bad memories and worries helps us to separate from the emotions and get them into perspective. It is important to keep a special eye out for children; they often do not let on what is going through their minds, especially if adults around them are upset.

"Reach out to any vulnerable people in the community. It will help those affected to know those outside the area are thinking about them and aware of how difficult it is. Red Cross has a number of guides and tools for coping with a major crisis and we would encourage people to consult these resources."

Red Cross emergency services activations today have been relatively limited, with Red Cross staff and volunteers providing support to a small number of people in evacuation centres in the Moreton Bay, Gold Coast and Tweed Heads areas.

"While keeping the current situation in perspective, we would encourage people who are feeling stressed or for whom the latest rainfall is re-activating painful memories to seek support. Red Cross recovery teams continue to be active on-the-ground in flood affected communities and support services are available from government agencies and other organisations," said Dr. Gordon.

"Many people have been through a very tough year getting their lives back together and will be facing the current challenges in an emotionally drained and physically-exhausted state. Being so close the anniversary makes it even more intense. The patient support of friends, family and the broader community will be very important to helping them keep on track."

Go to Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery.

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