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Red Cross providing assistance to cyclone evacuees

Wednesday March 22, 2006

As the extent of the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Larry becomes more apparent, Red Cross volunteers and staff are continuing to help communities and people in far north Queensland who have been affected by the terrible storm.

In Innisfail, where the cyclone made its savage landfall early on Monday morning, Red Cross has established an evacuation centre at the local TAFE College. The centre is capable of providing shelter, care and comfort to perhaps 100 evacuees.

Red Cross has also announced that it will set up a support service in the small town of Babinda. Red Cross volunteers from the Cairns Youth Group will this evening be travelling to Babinda to help distribute meals from the local school.

'Babinda, though a small community, has been identified as particularly vulnerable during this early response and initial recovery phase,' explained Greg Goebel, executive director of Australian Red Cross Queensland, who has been travelling throughout the devastated region.

In addition, Red Cross' Accommodation Centre in Townsville last night housed almost 60 backpackers who'd been evacuated from the Tully caravan park.

'The backpackers, many of whom have limited English, were yesterday bussed from the Tully Red Cross Centre where they'd been staying since Sunday night,' said Mr Goebel. 'However at least 30 will remain in Townsville overnight waiting on advice and support from their embassies.

Red Cross volunteers also continue to assist with the National Registration and Inquiry System (NRIS), helping capture the details of those who have been evacuated from cyclone affected areas, ensuring that loved ones are able to keep abreast of their movements. There have so far been a total of 3801 inquiries and 387 registrations taken.