“I’d just lost 54 years of my life.”

Emergency Services

“I’d just lost 54 years of my life.”

Mark was rescued from raging flood waters in Bungawalbin, NSW. Australian Red Cross was there to help him.

Mark with local Australian Red Cross volunteer Kerry after the floods. Photo: Tajette O’Halloran
“Thursday evening, the flood had broken the bank. It was getting up towards the gutters. We spent the whole night out in the rain and getting eaten alive by mozzies until the next day, when the helicopter came in.”

Mark, a garlic farmer from Bungawalbin in NSW, was rescued in the 2022 floods. During the initial stages, he was out in boats helping people, delivering food, doing medical runs and saving lives.

Mark contacted Australian Red Cross wanting to donate reconditioned pushbikes to flood impacted people. He didn’t mention at the time that he was also impacted by the flood.

Later on, Australian Red Cross supported Mark with ongoing recovery assistance to help manage his business and the personal impacts caused by the floods.

Watch Mark talk about his flood response and recovery experience.

Recovery needs a long-term approach

James from our local Emergency Services team says communities and individuals need that longer term support to try and get their lives back to a semblance of normal.

“The Australian Red Cross volunteers are the absolute backbone of the recovery all throughout the Northern Rivers – they live and work in community.”

Disasters take an emotional, psychological, financial, and economic toll on people and communities. Australian Red Cross has been helping people before, during and after disasters for over a century. While interest in major disasters is often at the peak during the onset of the event, for individuals and communities, the recovery can take months, years and even decades.

Disaster impact on Australians

  • 80% of people living in Australia have experienced disasters like flooding, heatwave, or drought in the last five years.1
  • 21% of people still experience PTSD, depression, or stress after the 2009 Victorian bushfires.2
  • $5 billion: the estimated insurance damages of the 2022 east-coast floods.3
  • 83% of Australians worry more bushfires, floods, and droughts are on the way.4

The ‘Cleen Up Program’

Australian Red Cross works with corporate partners to ensure long-term recovery in disaster-affected communities.

This includes Pine O Cleen, who are supporting our recovery efforts through the ‘Cleen Up Program.’ The partnership helps provide financial aid, volunteer funding and product donations for individuals, communities, and volunteers after disaster strikes.

Being prepared builds resilience

For local Australian Red Cross volunteer Kerry, being prepared makes recovery easier and faster.

“I think it's up to every individual Australian to educate themselves on what disaster is, how to prepare and what is needed by communities in a disaster.”

Thanks to our generous supporters, Australian Red Cross emergency response teams can be ready to help 24/7, 365 days a year.

Recovery officer James who has been working closely with Mark and other flood affected people in the Northern Rivers region says your generosity does not go unnoticed.

“Your help goes a long, long way into improving people's lives right here on the ground in that time of adversity to help them piece their lives back together.”

1, 2, 3, 4: The Cleen Up Recovery Report (2023)

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