Over the last week of February 2022, South East Queensland and Brisbane (the home of Peppermint HQ) was battered by an unprecedented rain event that has left so far unquantified damage in its wake. At time of writing, the north coast of New South Wales is experiencing the worst floods on record as people lose their homes and lives.
Although right now, the highest priority is ensuring people are safe, healthy, fed, clothed and housed, it cannot be ignored that we need to act on the climate crisis if we are going to continue to protect our communities and stop what was once unprecedented from becoming the new normal. Scientists are warning that the window for action is “rapidly closing”.
The Queensland and New South Wales flood disasters are an ever-changing situation in constant flux for the affected communities – ourselves included (our office was inundated on Saturday 26 February). While we wait for the waters to recede and the real toll on the many homes and businesses that have been hit comes to light, we’ve pulled together a non-exhaustive list brimming with resources and ways to help, in the hopes of slowing the doom scroll and inspiring action!
artwork above KIM ENGWICHT OF K-RAE DESIGNS
Peppermint HQ in Milton, Brisbane
The national broadcaster should always be your first port of call in situations of crisis – ABC Emergency and the ABC website are being constantly updated as the situation unfolds, as is The Guardian’s live feed. Both the Queensland and New South Wales state governments also have social media pages that are constantly updated with alerts and information for the unfolding crises. Local Facebook community groups can also be a valuable place for up-to-date information about your suburb as those in need reach out for assistance; as is your local council member.
Assistance and recovery payments
Commonwealth financial assistance is available for those who have been directly impacted by the floods from individuals to small business owners, farmers and employees. To claim this payment or check your eligibility visit the link here. Services Australia’s Disaster Assistance phone line 180 22 66 is available for those who are unable to claim online.
NSW Council of Social Services has curated a list of flood assistance resources for those impacted in the state. The Queensland Government Disasters and Emergencies page also has information regarding financial support. Queensland’s Deputy Premier shared this explainer for anyone confused about eligibility for assistance and grants.
If you’re a renter who’s unsure about how to deal with your home being flooded, this explainer from Greens MP Amy McMahon may be valuable.
The SES and State Fire Service are working tirelessly with volunteers to help those in the worst affected areas now, and in the days to come. You can donate to the Queensland SES here, and the New South Wales SES here. You can also donate to the Queensland Fire Service here, and the New South Wales Fire Service here.
Donations to the Queensland and New South Wales Floods Appeal will help the Red Cross to provide vital humanitarian support to the people and communities affected by the floods.
Keep an eye for call outs on social media and GoFundMes for mutual aid, or offer your services online. Anything from providing hot cooked meals and non-perishable food to driving to help people get to evacuation centres or washing and drying clothes goes a long way. If you’ve got a room you can offer to someone displaced by floods, you can add your details here. GIVIT is also matching flood victims with exact items they need.
Baking some cupcakes might seem like a frivolous offering, but for those who have lost so much, the kindness of a stranger can make a big difference. Baked Relief, started by Danielle Crismani during the 2011 Brisbane floods, is back in service again – join the Facebook group to see the callouts for snacks, meals and treats to help lighten someone’s day.
In times of crisis, you’ll often see the work of the amazing Sikh Volunteers Australia and the floods through NSW and QLD are no exception. A team is on the ground now in Lismore to provide freshly cooked vegetarian food for locals. You can donate to support their efforts here.
What shines strongest in times like these is the unwavering community spirit as so many put on their wellies and break out the brooms to help with the cleanup. The Brisbane City Council in conjunction with Volunteering Queensland has opened applications to join Brisbane’s Mud Army 2.0 and you can find information about volunteering with SES here.
Don’t forget about our furry friends too; the RSPCA is overwhelmed with animals that were rescued from floods but can’t stay in evacuation centres. You can also reach out to smaller animal organisations in flood affected areas who may need volunteers to help house lost animals that they don’t have capacity for.
It’s important to remember, however, that this process can be deeply traumatic for those affected. Associate Professor Nicole George experienced the 2011 Brisbane floods firsthand and went on to complete an ethnographic study on the community response in her neighbourhood. She’s shared her insights over at The Conversation with some practical tips on what to do, and also importantly, what not to do.
Support local businesses
So many small businesses across the region have had their premises decimated, with the prospect of reopening in the near future unfathomable. The below is a by no means exhaustive list of GoFundMes and other fundraising efforts – if you or your business have been affected, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details and we’ll add you.
If you are in Brisbane and can safely attend, lots of small businesses are hosting COVID-safe events to fundraise or support their community.
Our Milton neighbours Mongrel Bar & Kitchen are throwing a Life Aquatic fundraiser on Saturday 19 March, complete with Wes Anderson aesthetic, music and kegs. All ticket and keg sales will go into a kitty to be split between their suppliers and the community.
The sisters over at Alphabet Cafe are hosting a bake sale on Friday 11 March to benefit Loop Growers and Neighbourhood Farm – both suppliers to the beloved West End cafe – who have had their businesses wiped out by floods. All sales of cake, sourdough and coffee will be split between the two farms.
Not an event as such (it depends on how you feel about doing washing), but the amazing team at Orange Sky Laundry are running vans in flood-affected areas across Brisbane, Ipswich and Ballina. Check their social media daily for updates on locations.
Got small items that need repair after the flood? Reverse Garbage at Woolloongabba is holding one of their Repair Cafes on Saturday 5 March from 10am to 1pm. Book in to see if your item can be repaired on the spot with their volunteer repairers.