Hope as waters recede
As clouds gather and waters recede the true impact of the flooding in Queensland is slowly coming to light.
Uniting Churches throughout the state have been working with other churches and organisations to provide for effected communities.
In Brisbane’s western suburbs the Moggill Uniting Church was set up as an evacuation centre providing food and company for many people in the suburbs of Moggill, Bellbowrie and Anstead which have been cut off since Tuesday afternoon. Many residents were without power for days. All roads into the area were cut until today (Friday), and many routes into and around the area are still under water.
The Moggill evacuation centre was a central point for emergency food deliveries and church members were able to organise accommodation for many people whose homes were threatened or under water with others in the community.
The Sherwood Uniting Church and hall were opened to the community from 2 am on Friday to provide short-term emergency accommodation. Congregation members were also organising food and bedding for people in need in their community.
The Wellers Hill-Tarragindi Uniting Church, around 7 kms south of Brisbane’s flooded CBD, were just one of the many church groups who registered as volunteers with Volunteering Queensland and partnered with their local evacuation centre ( Yeronga State School) to provide bedding, food and a friendly face.
As at midday on Friday Uniting Church insurers were are aware of 19 sites that have suffered damage (including agency property) but this is a continually moving figure.
Damaged sites vary from retail stores, an industrial kitchen/ laundry, a sheltered workshop facility, aged care facilities, childcare, schools and Church buildings.
There were also claims for water damaged motor vehicles.
With some of the worst effected communities still without electricity it is difficult to know the full extent of the damage to property.
The most harrowing stories, of course, do not involve property but people. As the lines of communication begin to reopen the human cost of this tragic event is coming to light. It is in this area that perhaps the churches will need to assist their communities the most.
Last week the Queensland Synod sent two supply ministers to the regional communities of Emerald and the Dawson Valley who have been without a ministry agent to assist the communities and local churches through this event.
To date (Friday 14 January) the online Flood Appeal has raised $42,000. This figure continues to rise.
The Assembly has donated a significant amount of money from its Disaster Relief Fund to assist this important work and many Synods have also offered financial assistance.
While people begin the clean up, the pain of this event will be felt for years to come.
To donate to The Uniting Church in Australia Flood Appeal visit https://ucfloodappeal.gofundraise.com.au/
Mardi Lumsden, Journey
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