QLD & NSW floods: How you can help right now
With major floods across 2 states, thousands of people are without supplies or shelter and need your help.
Over the past 2 weeks, the East Coast of Australia has seen record levels of rain, which has caused rivers to burst their banks, forcing people to seek shelter and abandon their homes.
To get an understanding of just how dire it is, Brisbane was hit with 790 millimetres of rain in the week up to 28 February. London typically records a total of 690 millimetres in an average year.
Here's how you can help right now:
Check in on your friends and family
If you know someone affected by the floods, you can reach out and offer your support. Mental Health Foundation, headspace, has a range of resources available including suggestions for how you can support your friends and family who have been affected by a natural disaster.
Donate items and money
When you're not able to give your time or lend a hand in person, the next best thing you can do is donate to causes dedicated to helping people back on their feet.
You can make donations via the following registered charities or donation platforms.
- GoFundMe. The online donations platform has a dedicated page to support victims of the floods. There are over 50 verified causes raising money for things such as relief, rebuilds, clean-up and shelter for livestock.
- Vinnies. The St Vincent de Paul Society has launched a Flood Appeal. A donation of $50 can provide food for a family, while larger donations can provide clothing for families that have had to abandon their possessions or help set them up again with bedding and appliances.
- Good2Give. Workplaces can make donations made via Good2Give's Workplace Giving Platform, where they may be eligible for corporate fund matching.
- GIVIT. GIVIT has partnered with the Queensland government to assist impacted local government areas in the south-east. It's also working with the NSW government to manage donations. You can donate funds to cover over 70,000 donation requests including grocery and fuel vouchers, vouchers for white goods, pet foods and other vital items.
- NSW State Emergency Service. Donations to the NSW SES benefit volunteers enable them to continue their efforts to rescue people from flood waters, clear roads and provide other disaster relief.
- Australian Red Cross. Donations to the Red Cross Floods Appeal will go towards providing humanitarian aid to communities in NSW and QLD affected by the floods. This includes helping with evacuations, staffing relief centres and providing outreach services.
- The Salvation Army Australia. Donate to the Salvation Army to help fund disaster relief. It's currently providing assistance at evacuation centres across QLD and NSW.
What not to do
Many locals are pitching in to help, and while good intentions are always appreciated, sometimes we can add to the chaos rather than the calm. A local resident in Bungalow, Lisa Messenger, has been mobilising donations and volunteers. On her Instagram account, she's clear about what they do need, and what they don't need – which brings us to the don'ts:
- Don't send unrequested items. Unrequested donations (or items that can be bought locally in areas impacted by the floods) can slow down relief efforts. Charities, volunteers and organisations working on the ground don't need to be inundated with things they don't need, as it creates more work for them to sort and store goods that can't be immediately donated. To make sure you're giving exactly what is needed, check the charity's website beforehand – they will outline clearly what to donate.
- Don't ask how you can help. Asking questions like "What can I do?" puts pressure on the person you're trying to help to coordinate things. It can also put you in a position to be asked for support you can't provide (for example, if they ask you to hit the phones, but you're a little phone-shy). As Lisa notes, "I'm good at rallying people – I'm not so great at detail and organisation. So as well as goods, if people have on-the-ground experience with sorting and bagging, come along." Using initiative helps show your offer of assistance is meaningful and relieves the stress of the person you're trying to help, so arrive armed with intention (for example, "I'm great at packing" or "Can I help make phone calls?").
Gary Ross Hunter contributed to this article.