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Queensland floods 2011

At the beginning of 2011, a devastating series of floods swept over Queensland affecting over 200,000 people. Red Cross was there to help as the waters rose and stayed on to help thousands of people as they recovered.

Just after Christmas 2010, Queensland was hit with one of the most devastating and tragic disasters in the state's history. Record rainfall caused catastrophic floods that brought disaster to three quarters of Queensland's council areas. The floods claimed 35 lives and affected more than 200,000 people. Ninety towns were affected by the floodwaters and over $2billion worth of damage was done to infrastructure and property. The flood led to one of the largest ever Red Cross relief and recovery programs in Australia.

Red Cross started assisting when the first evacuation centre opened on 27 December 2010. More than 14,600 people were assisted by Red Cross in evacuation centres when flooding peaked across Queensland. Over 25,000 people registered or enquired about the Queensland flood disasters through Register. Find. Reunite. (then called the National Registration and Inquiry System), the service that helps reconnect friends and family separated during an emergency.

The floods continued well into January 2011. It was only then that communities across Queensland could begin the enormous task of recovery.

Over the following year, more than 1,400 Red Cross staff and trained volunteers were on the ground to help those people most affected by the emergency. Recovery activities took place in 72 out of the 73 local government areas in Queensland.

Red Cross managed evacuation centres in 34 locations affected by the floods, including Brisbane, Dalby, Emerald, Ipswich, Moreton Bay, Rockhampton and Toowoomba, and provided emotional support and practical advice to 14,000 people. Red Cross also managed 11 emergency shelters during this time, including the shelters in Cairns, Innisfail and Tully that accommodated 6,500 people affected by Cyclone Yasi in February of the same year.

As the flood waters disappeared, Red Cross continued helping thousands of people as they recovered from the life-changing disaster and began to rebuild their lives. As part of a long-term recovery program, Red Cross worked with local governments and the Department of Communities to assist residents across Queensland. Red Cross teams were embedded within communities as they rebuilt and volunteers visited around 16,000 providing personal support services to individuals and families through door-to-door outreach.

Surviving the flood

Desley's house, business and community were severely affected by an 'inland tsunami'. After the floods, Desley says the stress hit her hard.



Recovering from a disaster Emergencies

Emergencies like these can be extremely distressing and recovery can be a long and difficult process. If you or someone you know has been affected by an emergency, Red Cross has a range of helpful resources to help you recover from a disaster.

Get prepared for disasters

Disasters like this can strike anywhere and anytime. There's a one-in-three chance that you'll experience one in your lifetime and a disaster could affect you and your family for years to come.

Getting prepared for a disaster is easy. RediPlan is a free guide that helps you prepare for a disaster and make an emergency plan. Get it now at

You can help when disaster strikes

Donate to Red Cross disaster relief

Help Red Cross provide valuable assistance in times of emergency by donating to Red Cross' Disaster Relief and Recovery work. You can make a donation right now at or by calling 1800 811 700.

Volunteer for disaster relief work

Want to get involved in future Red Cross emergency responses? Find out how at you can help by volunteering with Australian Red Cross.

Donate clothes and goods

Help support the broader, everyday work of Red Cross by donating your clothes and other goods to our retail stores.