Betty Taylor and Jan Hoffman with a bag of teddy bears.
Betty Taylor and Jan Hoffman with a bag of teddy bears. Mike Knott

Flood of support for town in need

ARMED with a bagful of teddy-bears and an immeasurable amount of compassion, eight Bundaberg Red Cross volunteers flew to Charleville yesterday to add their weight to the relief effort.

Flood waters swamped the western Queensland town earlier in the week and Charleville was declared a disaster area on Monday.

As Premier Anna Bligh and the federal government pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid to the town and other flood-ravaged areas, trained emergency service volunteer Helen Guppy and the rest of the team prepared themselves for the disaster zone.

The volunteers will be knocking on doors to offer assistance, as well as setting up in a “one-stop-shop” with other service groups Charleville locals may need during the next few weeks.

“The things happening in Charleville takes weeks to resolve,” Mrs Guppy said.

“So until the government has indicated that it is not a disaster area anymore they’re going to need help.”

But the volunteers can only stay five days, because of the taxing nature of the volunteer work and due to commitments back at home.

“We need back-up teams,” Mrs Guppy said.

“You can’t keep your volunteers in the field forever because it’s full-on work.”

The volunteer said that despite the hard work involved, she found her emergency services’ role rewarding.

“We’re ever mindful of the principles of Red Cross that we work within,” Mrs Guppy said.

“We don’t judge people, we’re just there to help.

“Because of the severe impact on local people we’ll have the full range of emotions from them too.”

Although flood waters are starting to ease the state government has launched a $500,000 appeal for flood-affected south-west Queensland.

“Hundreds of families in south-western Queensland, particularly in Charleville and Roma, have been hard hit by widespread flooding.” Ms Bligh said.

“Queenslanders have always rallied to help those in need and I am certain they will do so on this occasion.”

Donations can be made in person at any of the big banks or at www.qld.gov.au. For people interested in becoming a trained emergency services volunteer, the next lot of free training in Bundaberg is being held on March 20.

Telephone Red Cross on 4151 3096 for information.



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