‘Once the initial buzz is gone, people forget the community will be suffering for a long time’

ABOVE: The Disaster Relief Australia team helping in the clean up after the flooding of Coraki. Photo: Contributed

Susanna Freymark

The team of blue shirts that are from Disaster Relief Australia are using the Coraki Golf Club as their base.

Forty-four of them were on the ground at Coraki helping where help was needed on Monday, March 21.

The volunteers come from across Australia including Tasmania, Northern Territory. Queensland and Canberra.

They have been in the area for two weeks and had a team of 95 people helping, now down to 44.

Mission commander Amy Brierley from Adelaide said they will stay as long as they are needed.

“There is no end date,” she said.

Helping shift a rainwater tank moved in the Coraki floods.

Disaster Relief Australia took drone footage of the flooded areas before they decided where to help.

They’ve shared that footage with the army and state emergency agencies.

The non-government organisation gets funding from private donations, Mitsubishi and some government funding.

“We always have a welfare capability,” Ms Brierley said.

While the team are here helping clean up after the floods, they’re aware of the long-term effects of a disaster, Ms Brierley said.

“There’s so much to do.

“Once the initial buzz is gone, people forget the community will be suffering for a long time.”

Having “human capital” on the ground was key, she said.

One of the practical issues three weeks after the floods, was cleaning out swimming pools that were dirty and a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

“The risk of infection us high for people, Ms Brierley said.

What did people need now?

“Come and give people a hug,” she said.

The flood recovery continues in Coraki and other places across the Northern Rivers.

The Disaster Relief Australia team in Coraki.
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