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Red Cross providing assistance to flood evacuees

Monday April 10, 2006

As the people of Katherine and surrounding communities slowly return to their homes, Australian Red Cross volunteers and staff are on stand-by to help the Daly River Community and its potential evacuation to Pine Creek.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Red Cross helped establish an evacuation centre at Katherine High School, which provided shelter and food to almost 700 evacuees, including its own Aged Care Hostel residents, forced to flee rising flood waters.

Working with Departments of Education, Employment and Training, Health and Community Services, Anglicare and other services, Red Cross worked around the clock to provide care and comfort to evacuees, many of whom had experienced the flood of 1998. Red Cross remained at Katherine High School until Sunday afternoon, upon which they were given permission to return their Aged Care Hostel residents back home.

Susanne Brown, Regional Manager, Australian Red Cross Katherine says, 'Whilst our effort required significant input from staff and volunteers, we were just one of many agencies working together in tough conditions. This is an excellent example of how this tight knit community bands together to take care of each other.'

'We had people that came to the evacuation centre with no other possessions, but the wet clothes on their back, and who calmly waited to return home. That spurred us on and kept exhaustion at bay,' she adds.

Red Cross volunteers also operated the National Registration and Inquiry System (NRIS), capturing the details of those who have been evacuated from flood affected areas, ensuring that loved ones are able to keep abreast of their movements. There was a total of 1,120 registrations taken from four evacuation centres.

Katherine Region Recovery Coordinator Barry Chambers attributed the town's speedy recovery to the community's ability to pull together under pressure.

'The town is already back on its feet with most businesses opening their doors today and the majority of evacuees back in their homes. It is a tribute to the town's residents, business people, Government agencies and all charitable agencies,' Mr Chambers said.