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Salvos assist with Cyclone Marcia clean-up

26 February 2015

Salvos assist with Cyclone Marcia clean-up

The Salvation Army's Major Peter Sutcliffe (left) is presented with donated goods for the 'Fill a Fridge' initiative.

The Salvation Army's response to Cyclone Marcia and the destruction it caused to communities in central Queensland is continuing.

Major Colin Maxwell, Capricorn Region Corps Officer, says the focus of their operation has been centred on the coastal town of Yeppoon and the city of Rockhampton, 45km inland.

“We’ve been through a journey here in Rockhampton and Yeppoon – both struck by the same cyclone, but with different needs in its aftermath,” said Major Maxwell.

“Yeppoon, being on the coast, faced the moisture and tidal problems as well as the wind, and the rain in Rockhampton had the ‘sandblasting’ effect of stripping trees, knocking them over at the 3m level, and uprooting them too.”

In the days following the cyclone, The Salvation Army assisted a small number of evacuees in Rockhampton with emergency catering. Most people had either been able to shelter under their homes, or go to friends and family.

In Yeppoon, The Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) teams catered for those in the evacuation centre, and then recovery centres for a few days until they, too, were able to go home or to friends and family.

“During this whole time, in both places, we have been busy feeding hundreds of State Emergency Service (SES) teams, volunteers, council employees and electricity and communications workers,” said Major Maxwell.

“We’ve moved from immediate response to a recovery pattern.”

SAES teams from Gladstone have given some relief to the exhausted local teams, with a group from Emerald/Blackwater also arriving to assist.

“We will be catering for volunteers and workers for at least two weeks and it might go to four,” said Major Maxwell.

“Many here are saying that the damage is similar to that of Cyclone Yasi in 2011 and that took four weeks to be sorted.” 

Fill a fridge appeal

On Tuesday 24 February, Rockhampton Region Mayor, Margaret Strelow, and The Salvation Army, launched the “Fill a Fridge” initiative.

“People have now cleaned out their fridges full of rotting food, the smell has gone and they have clean fridges – but they are empty and the question is now, how to fill it,” said Major Maxwell. “For many, this means dollars they don’t have, so this initiative is an attempt to kickstart the replenishment of essential food items for people struggling to overcome their circumstances and get back on their feet.

“Recipients will be those in Rockhampton, Yeppoon, inland areas and northern towns worst affected by the cyclone.”

Mayor Strelow made a donation and, already, generous people and organisations are donating to the appeal.

“The Salvation Army Central North Queensland Division has also sent us funds for our disaster recovery work,” said Major Maxwell.

“Donated money will be translated into Woolworths cards so people can buy what they need. Some food donations are also expected.” 

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