The BJP Physie community sends all our thoughts, prayers and best wishes for the safety and wellbeing of our Physie friends affected by floods. The list of towns experiencing devastation keeps growing but we are particularly thinking of those in and around Lismore, Ballina, Casino, Grafton and Brisbane, as well as those now in danger from the Hawkesbury/Nepean River in Sydney.

While there’s nothing we can do but bear witness and keep hoping that all our Physie families will all be safe, there is one practical thing we will be able to do for those who have lost everything in their homes.

If you are reading this and you are NOT in a flood-affected area, please dig out any Physie leotards or performance wear that you no longer need or can spare for someone who has nothing. Wash, dry and pop them in zip-lock bags. Hang onto them for now until we can organise a collection point for redistribution when the floods have eased and we can have them delivered wherever they are most needed. We will keep you posted.

Let’s all keep sending our thoughts and prayers to everyone who is displaced or evacuated and to all those who incredible people who are helping them. And if you want to do more, here’s an article from The Guardian with great practical ideas on ways to help by donating now and by simply listening once the crisis is over…

 

 

Donating money is the most practical way to offer immediate flood assistance, particularly as the flood waters begin to recede.

A number of major charities, including the Australian Red Cross and Vinnies, are accepting donations to provide urgent relief and humanitarian support to flood-affected communities.

The Red Cross is coordinating a disaster appeal across both states. Funds will be used to provide vital humanitarian support, including enabling volunteers and staff to help with evacuations, relief centres, outreach services and ongoing support.

The SES and State Fire Service are working with volunteers to help those in the worst hit areas. You can donate to the Queensland SES here, and the New South Wales SES here.

Clothes, groceries and unwanted goods are not, in general, appropriate items to donate unless they are specifically being requested by charities.

Instead, check with local recovery committees to see what needs to be done and what specific items are needed, or – if you know those directly affected – check in on friends and family. Offer to wash and dry items to see what can be salvaged, or help empty a cupboard.

National not-for-profit GIVIT is also managing offers of donated goods, services, volunteering and funds, in partnership with the Queensland and NSW governments. Via the platform users can donate items, funds or time depending on what specific requests have been made from people and communities affected by storms and flooding.

Local charities and groups are also accepting assistance. Koori Mail has released a GoFundMe for the Bundjalung communities and missions that have been cut off due to Lismore floods, with donations going towards temporary accommodation and emergency supplies.

Educate yourself and listen

After the initial crisis, recovery from a severe weather event takes weeks, months and, often, years. It is in this time that people who have lived through the natural disaster are most in need of support. Trauma lingers long after the clean-up is over.

Those who have lived through floods say it is vital at this time to allow family and friends to talk about what they’ve experienced once the volunteers have retreated.

Those affected may need professional help.

Those feeling anxious, lonely and distressed can be directed to the following agencies for help:

  • Lifeline has a team of professional counsellors who can talk to you about your mental health concerns, or those you have for a loved one. You can call the 24/7 crisis support helpline on 13 11 14 or text or message them online here.
  • Beyond Blue also provides a 24/7 counselling service over the phone. You can reach them at 1300 22 4636, or visit them online to direct message or email a counsellor.
  • Headspace also helps young Australians experiencing mental health concerns – call them on 1800 650 890 or contact them online here.
  • Lifeline also has a Lifeline Community Recovery team who visit communities to provide counselling and psychological first aid in the weeks and months after major weather events. More information is available here.