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QLD Cyclone Marcia: one year on

The anniversary of a natural disaster can be a difficult and emotional time for many. One year on from Cyclone Marcia and many people continue to recover from the disaster. Here's some advice for those affected.

Friday February 19, 2016

Damage to a street in the aftermath of Cyclone Marcia, QLD, 2015. One year on, and people
Damage to a street in the aftermath of Cyclone Marcia, QLD, 2015.

Cyclone Marcia crossed the Queensland coast on 20 February 2015, causing widespread damage and affecting tens of thousands of people. During the event and in the weeks that followed, hundreds of Red Cross staff and volunteers worked tirelessly, providing help and support to those in the worst affected areas.

For some people, this week's anniversary will be especially difficult as they continue the hard work of rebuilding their lives. "Recovery isn't just about houses and businesses; it's also about re-establishing the whole fabric of the community," says Australian Red Cross Regional Manager Central Queensland, Janeen Miesch.

"It's important to prepare yourself for the day, and work out how you might like to spend it- there's no right way to grieve; everyone has to find their own way through it. Quite often we find it's months or even years after the disaster that people really hit the wall. That's when they've used up all their financial and emotional reserves and really hit empty.

"Recovery from a disaster can take a long time. If you or someone you know has been affected by fires, floods, cyclones or storms, Red Cross has some helpful resources to show you how to cope and recover from disasters.

One year on, and many people are still recovering from the effects of the cyclone. One way Red Cross is helping communities to recover is through building local skills and knowledge to respond to future disasters.

"One way people can feel prepared, empowered and resilient is to become a volunteer-a volunteer who is specially trained to respond to disasters and emergencies," says Ms Miesch.

"We're soon starting a recruitment drive to encourage more people to become emergency services volunteers in their community. We've already begun running workshops for our existing volunteers, to provide them with extra training in things such as evacuation centre management and psychological first aid."

Red Cross will particularly focus on building its volunteer network in Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Livingstone-some of the areas hardest hit by Cyclone Marcia. If you're interested in volunteering, find out more about how you can volunteer with Red Cross.