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Three months after Debbie, Red Cross helps 27,000 people


Three months after the massive category four Cyclone Debbie crossed the north Queensland coast, Red Cross continues to reach out to people still struggling to pick up the pieces.

Wednesday June 28, 2017

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Red Cross people reach out to isolated folks hit by Debbie
Red Cross people reach out to isolated folks hit by Debbie

Cyclone Debbie caused widespread damage and flooding in north and south Queensland and northern New South Wales, killing at least 12 people and causing more than $2 billion damage.

Since making landfall near Airlie Beach on 28 March 2017 Red Cross has helped more than 27,000 people in affected towns, mobilising more than 2500 specially trained emergency services staff and volunteers to help where the need was greatest.

In all, Red Cross people have been on the ground in more than 50 locations, lending humanitarian support and essential information.

"We provide psychosocial support: we're there with a listening ear, a friendly face, information and connection, to help people reduce distress and cope with the situation. We do this at the height of the emergency in cyclone and evacuation shelters, going door-to-door in affected areas, in community centres, recovery hubs and at community events," Red Cross National Manager, Emergency Services, Andrew Coghlan said.

"Our long experience in emergencies shows that one of the most distressing things about being caught up in a disaster is being separated from loved ones," he said. "Our Register.Find.Reunite service was activated, with people encouraged to register if they had lost contact with a loved one. In all we received 1,965 registrations and were able to connect 68 people who had no other way of knowing if a loved one was safe and well."

"In a number of locations in northern Queensland and NSW we are investing in additional recovery specialists to work alongside the community, driving recovery efforts on the ground.

"It's recognition that recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Disasters like these can be extremely distressing. Recovering from a devastating event like this can be a long and difficult process, lasting years. We're here for the long haul, embedded into these communities to most effectively support local responses to recovery," Mr Coghlan said. "Whether this means supporting community barbeques and other events, door-knocking to check in on folks, or advocating for community outcomes, we're staying right where we're needed."

It's been the biggest Red Cross response to a natural disaster since the Queensland floods of 2011.

If you or someone you know has been affected by this - or any - emergency, Red Cross has resources to help you recover at redcross.org.au/emergencyresources. To help Red Cross provide valuable disaster assistance in times of emergency, you can donate to our emergency response and recovery work across Australia at redcross.org.au or by calling 1800 811 700.

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