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Responding to a week of wild weather

Floods, winds and bushfires – we’ve just been hit by all of them. It’s time to prepare for whatever comes next.

It’s been a week of wild weather: from floods in Australia’s Top End, to extreme winds in the Kimberley, to heatwaves in South Australia and bushfires in Perth and Western Australia’s South West.

“This week is huge reminder that it’s never too late or too early to prepare for an emergency,” said Simon Rickard, National Operations Manager for Australian Red Cross Emergency Services.

Flooding has left the whole community of Daly River, in the Northern Territory - 380 people - displaced, and they will be for some time. Floodwaters rose to almost 15 metres – above the level of people’s homes – leaving them no option but to evacuate. The operation, no small feat, took 27 helicopters.

“At the evacuation centre our volunteers and staff have been working around the clock - listening to people, offering comfort and emotional support, and practical information to help them regain some control over their lives despite the upheaval and uncertainty,” he said.

Over 200 people have been sleeping in a local evacuation centre. They will wait there until the floodwaters subside, then return home to assess the damage and start the clean-up.

“People are pretty shaken, but this is not the first time this community has dealt with an event like this. People brought what they could; some people brought clothes and blankets, while others brought family photos, their kids’ toys and other sentimental items which will really help them recover,” said Mr Rickard.

In Western Australia, a bushfire threatened homes near the town of Augusta in Western Australia leaving people to flee to evacuation centres, leaving homes and livestock. The fire burnt at least 147 hectares, including homes. Thanks to the work of over 100 firefighters the moving blaze was contained within days.

Flood warnings also remain current in parts of the Kimberley and Goldfields districts.  Broome has received record breaking rain with 941mm being recorded since the beginning of the year.

Being prepared can help you respond effectively when emergencies happen, and recover better afterwards.

Here are some simple things you can do to prepare for any emergency:

Download Get Prepared, co-created with general insurer IAG, to keep your emergency plan close to hand. Visit www.redcross.org.au/getprepared

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