The aftermath of flooding in Gympie.
The aftermath of flooding in Gympie. Craig Warhurst

Volunteers gear up to help flood victims

WHEN floodwaters begin to recede in the aftermath of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald, volunteers and charity groups will spring into action.

Premier Newman helped launch the Red Cross Queensland Floods Appeal 2013 this week, pumping in $1 million to start the ball rolling.

The talk of reforming the "Mud Army" - which grew from a desire to help in Brisbane's clean-up - is climbing, with volunteers encouraged to sign up with Emergency Volunteering.

 

Corporate players too are chipping in to help, with supermarket giant Woolworths pledging that for one week it would match every dollar shoppers donate to the Salvation Army.

Woolworths will cap its contribution at $500,000, its goal to help customers raise $1 million in seven days.

For those further afield, fundraising group Aussie Helpers is preparing to dispatch teams of volunteers in Queensland and northern New South Wales to help farmers grapple with the devastation of their properties

.Founders Brian and Nerida Egan will help rebuild fences, offer counselling and financial support to help primary industries dry out.

 

For now, teams are waiting for the waters to subside.

"Mainly what we do is help primary producers," Mr Egan said.

"If they need fencing or structural repairs, or something to build up their confidence again, we try to help.

"A lot of people get a kick in the guts, lose a lot of confidence and feel like walking off."

The Egans have been helping farmers recover for a decade, bouncing from droughts to fires to floods and back again.

"When things dry out, we'll get back into places like Eidsvold, Monto and Biloela, all those inland towns from Bundaberg."

 

 

Grafton and Tamworth in northern New South Wales will follow.

 

Mr Egan said the group runs on donations and corporate support if it is to take help where it was most needed.

"We put 120 farms in the Surat Basin back into business.

That was achieved with 250 volunteers, many of them tradespeople.

"We're a bit like storm chasers at the moment

."But as long as we're helping, we'll keep doing it".

 

HOW TO HELP

RED CROSS 2013 FLOOD APPEAL
Phone 1800 811 700, visit redcross.org.au or make a donation at Australia Post, Commonwealth Bank, Bank of Queensland, St George, NAB or Westpac branches.

AUSSIE HELPERS
Phone Brian and Nerida on 1300 665 232 or visit aussiehelpers.org.au to find out how to donate or volunteer to help farmers.

VOLUNTEERING
Sign-up with emergencyvolunteering.force.com or phone 1800 994 100


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