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Much needed help for cyclone affected communities

Red Cross is there as communities across Queensland and the Northern Territory pick up the pieces after the destruction of Cyclone Marcia and Cyclone Lam.

Sunday March 1, 2015

Communities in Queensland and the Northern Territory are braced for a lengthy clean up and recovery period. Photo courtesy of ABC.

Tropical Cyclone Marcia made landfall on the morning of Friday 20 February, pounding Queensland's Capricorn coast with strong winds and heavy rain, causing flooding, storm surges and widespread damage.

In Queensland we have specialist trained staff and volunteers on the ground in Rockhampton and Yeppoon. Based at local evacuation centres they're providing psychological first aid, support and helping to reconnect families who have been separated.

As the severity of the cyclone escalated, Red Cross launched the Register.Find.Reunite service to help reunite friends and families separated by the disaster. To date, there have been more than 320 registrations.

Now, as both cyclones subside, the recovery effort can begin. Damage caused by Cyclone Marcia is still being assessed and many residents have been without power. Red Cross staff and volunteers will be working in partnership with the Department of Communities, visiting and performing outreach activities in Rockhampton, Yeppoon and surrounding communities, particularly Mt Morgan, Byfield, and Marmor, to assess early recovery needs, as well as a visit to the Banana Shire.

Meanwhile, up in the Northern Territory, Cyclone Lam wreaked a path of destruction along the mainland coast, midway between Milingimbi and Elcho Island.

Many communities in NT have been without power, water, communications or sewerage services and a state of emergency has been declared by the Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles.# In response, Red Cross was asked by the NT Government to help support an evacuation centre opening on the badly affected Elcho Island. Red Cross emergency specialists also visited those affected by the cyclone as part of an assessment team to help determine people's needs and to provide psychological first aid.

Red Cross also launched the Register.Find.Reunite service in the region, which saw 428 registrations.