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Reaching out to rural communities devastated by floods

Red Cross have been visiting flood affected homes around Kempsey, ensuring people have access to information and services.

Wednesday March 13, 2013


Regional Red Cross Manager Moray Ralph said that some of these towns had been flooded three times in the past five weeks, which would take a huge toll on individuals and communities.

"There is a great community spirit in these towns, with people helping to clean up the streets and giving their neighbours a hand," he said. "But cleaning up after floods is a massive job for a small town, so it's important we stand by these communities, and help out where possible."

Working in partnership with the Ministry of Police and Emergency Services, trained Red Cross staff and volunteers have been calling on flood affected households in Gladstone, Crescent Head, Hat Head, Smithtown and Bellbrook, checking on people's well being, asking what their most pressing needs are, and providing much needed information about available services.

This information is then passed onto the Disaster Welfare Services, which oversees recovery services to the community.

The 22 staff and volunteers in the Red Cross outreach team have visited more than 130 homes since the flood waters eased last Tuesday, and will finish this phase of the recovery operation today.

Red Cross is now evaluating the need for ongoing psychological support for people affected by the floods, including the well-established "Talk out Loud" mental health awareness program.

"The psychological impact on many people has been huge," Mr Ralph said. "If we get another flood in the coming weeks, people will start to feel even more emotionally overwhelmed."

"People need to look after themselves emotionally in the aftermath of a disaster, and not be afraid to reach out for help, whether it's through family, government agencies or organisations like Red Cross."

Red Cross has developed a range of resources to help people understand what they may experience when recovering from disasters and what they can do to help themselves and others through these difficult times. This material includes 'Coping with a major personal crisis', and 'Helping children and young people cope with crisis'.

You can support Red Cross' emergency services work by donating to Disaster Relief and Recovery.