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Red Cross helps flood affected families in NSW

Monday January 7, 2008

Following heavy rainfall and flash flooding across the Mid and Far North Coast of NSW, trained Red Cross volunteers are working hard to assist people affected by the ongoing weather crisis.

Red Cross teams, working with the NSW Department of Community Services and other non-government organisations, have been busy since early Saturday morning helping to establish four evacuation centres and provide care and comfort to flood affected residents.

Beginning on the morning of Friday 5 January 2008, more than 150mm of rain has been recorded across the Tweed, Richmond/Wilsons, Brunswick, Bellinger and Hastings River catchment areas.

Red Cross NSW Manager Emergency Services, Jason Collins, said a dedicated team of volunteers have been providing personal support to those in need.

'Today our focus is on working in the Ballina evacuation centre helping the indigenous community from Cabbage Tree Island, who were evacuated by boat from their community this morning.'

'A Red Cross team is also providing outreach services to affected local residents in Kyogle,' he said.

Mr Collins said that despite significant loss of infrastructure, including bridges and roads, people remain in good spirit.

'The resilience of the local community in preparing for the floods and in looking out for one another has been remarkable.'

'While we are assisting with the start of the recovery process, the impacts on the broader community, including animal stock losses and property damage won't be fully known until the water subsides,' said Mr Collins.

Australian Red Cross has a network of volunteers who provide services to vulnerable people during disasters. It also aims to strengthen community resilience to emergencies through disaster preparedness and education.

People needing assistance

Help is available from the State Disaster Recovery Centre run by the NSW Department of Community Services. Phone 1800 018 444, 24 hours for advice, support and help.