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Residents across the Whitsunday Region have pitched in to help out their neighbours over the last week, after Tropical Cyclone Debbie hit the Queensland Coast.
While it has been a difficult time for residents, the support and assistance of emergency crews and agencies during this time has boosted the community’s spirits.
Staff from the State Emergency Services (SES), the Australian Defense Forces (ADF), Ergon Energy, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Queensland Police Service, Queensland Ambulance Service, Maritime Safety Queensland, the Rural Fire Service, Telstra and Queensland Health, have been working tirelessly alongside Council crews to respond to emergencies and begin the clean up.
Expert community care has been provided by charities such as the Red Cross and Rotary, alongside crucial support from the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services in the establishment of Community Recovery Hubs across the region.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox thanked all the agencies who have worked so hard over the last week to get the region back up and running.
“It really has been a phenomenal effort from everyone involved.
“Although we have a lot more to do, I think we can be proud of how much has been achieved in such a short time.
“This week we have seen water and power start to be restored across the region, businesses have reopened and homes are being repaired,” he said.
“The Whitsunday Region is still a tropical paradise, a little battle weary but still paradise and it won’t be long before we are back on our feet.”
“I’d like to thank the community for their patience and understanding during this difficult time, and for their ongoing resilience as we recover and rebuild.”
Residents who are still looking for assistance with cleaning up their yards or homes, are urged to ask family, friends and neighbours for help.
Council is conducting kerbside green and bulky household waste pick-ups but are not able to enter people’s yards.
The SES has completed over 1100 jobs in the Whitsundays over the last week, and will continue to respond to priority requests such as clearing access to properties or tarping a roof.
The role of the SES is to provide temporary emergency repairs caused by storms or floods, and to remove fallen trees that are a threat to life or block access to a property.
If a resident requires assistance in clearing trees or cleaning up their private property, local community group Rubicon and Queensland Rail volunteers are ready and willing to help.
Coordinated by the Rotary Club of Airlie Beach, Rubicon is a group of 30 with their own chainsaws, and can be arranged to help anyone with an urgent need to remove a tree or other debris.
Residents can contact Rubicon by calling Amy from the Rotary Club of Airlie Beach on 0437 290 904.
If anyone in the community would like to volunteer their time, refer to Volunteering Queensland’s website at https://volunteeringqld.org.au/ which links people with local existing and established volunteer agencies.
Council is also working with Australian not-for-profit organisation GIVIT to source donated items. In partnership with the Queensland Government, GIVIT manages all offers of assistance following disasters, including cash and item donations, via its website at http://www.givit.org.au