2022 has been Australian Red Cross’ busiest year on record for its Emergency Services teams based in NSW with the service activated for 262 days.
Red Cross’ NSW Director, Kate Miranda, said staff and volunteers across the state have been supporting people impacted by floods since February.
“Since the start of the Northern Rivers floods on 27th February to when the Moulamein Recovery Assistance Point closed on 20th December, we had just 36 days we were not responding to a disaster,” Ms Miranda said.
This year, Red Cross Emergency Services staff and volunteers have supported people in the Northern Rivers, Murray Riverina, Central West, Far West, Central Coast, Hunter, Hawkesbury and Sydney.
In 2022, we had 25 Emergency Services staff coordinating 373 volunteers activated in 171 evacuation centres and recovery hubs, providing more than 8,000 voluntary hours of service. Our volunteers are continuing to provide outreach support services in Eugowra and the Northern Rivers.
We provided psychological first aid to 29,000 people and supported a total of 34,000 people impacted by natural disasters.
“Almost a year of flood events across much of the state has come on top of COVID-19 and the 2019- 20 Summer Bushfires. Thousands of people have experienced three years of compounding disasters. It’s taking a toll on people’s mental health,” Ms Miranda said.
Red Cross is one of four NSW Government partner organisations providing support services to people impacted by disasters.
“Our role is to support people through a crisis. We are present in evacuation centres providing psychological first aid. Our Emergency Services volunteers are trained in psychological first aid to provide immediate support to people experiencing trauma,” Ms Miranda said.
Many Red Cross volunteers helped others in evacuation and recovery centres even though their own houses were damaged by flooding.
“Our NSW Emergency Services Team is made up of 36 paid staff and more than 1,200 volunteers all trained in emergency response and psychological first aid. We rely on the generosity of the public and corporate partners to fund our work to help communities prepare, respond and recover from natural disasters – and to recruit and train volunteers,” Ms Miranda said.
If you would like to support Red Cross to continue responding to the increasing number of emergency and disaster events, you can either make a donation at redcross.org.au/donation/disaster-response-and-recovery/ or sign up to become a NSW Red Cross Emergency Services volunteer by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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