Queensland floods: Standing together for the long haul
30 June 2011
The Salvation Army recognises that it will take many Queenslanders years to recover from the enormity of the natural disasters that hit the state in early 2011. This means remaining flexible and changing direction, or increasing our support, depending on what is happening on the front line.
In response to a sustained high level of callers to its 24-hour disaster assistance line, The Salvation Army has launched “Operation Reinforce”, an initiative to deploy teams of Salvation Army staff and volunteers to assist workers at the front-line. Salvation Army employees have been released from their normal work duties to participate.
The volunteer teams assist for a period of five days and undertake assessment, pastoral support and visits to residents of flood and cyclone affected areas.
Their work ranges from:
- Assessment and visitation of people on the lists provided by Flood Relief Line
- Delivering donated goods
- Food preparation and support to other volunteers
- Door knocking in areas particularly affected by the natural disasters to check on residents well being
Those with complex, ongoing needs receive ongoing support from full time staff attached to local Salvation Army centres.
Over an eight-week period Operation Reinforce staff and volunteers have undertaken thousands assessment visits to Queenslanders affected by the disasters.
Captain Stan and Connie Hindle can attest to the importance of going door-to-door to check on how people are coping. These retired Salvation Army officers travelled to Nth Qld in their caravan to assist in the recovery efforts.
Stan recalls, “I went down to a particular house and saw a lady there … and she said to me, ‘You know something, you are the first person to come into this house since the cyclone to see if we are alive or dead”.