Help Australian Quotarians Respond to Damaging Floods
2011 has not started well in Queensland, Australia, with 50 percent of the state (an area the size of Germany and France combined) under water and many towns, including the Quota city of Bundaberg, submerged and evacuated. The devastation is of epic proportions.
Quota’s own 34th District in central Queensland is taking the lead in relief efforts on behalf of Quota International. Clubs from outside the South Pacific Area who would like to make a donation from their service funds to help devastated, evacuated families in the flood areas, may send a donation to the Quota International Office in Washington, D.C., and we will forward 100 percent of the funds to our Australian members. District Governor Karen Binstead will consult with Quota clubs in Bundaberg and Gladstone as to how the funds should be best distributed to families in need in Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Emerald, and Theodore. Please make your checks are payable to We Share Foundation, note flood relief on the memo line, and send them to:
1420 21st Street, NW
Washington DC 20036
Clubs in the South Pacific Area have been notified where to send their donations for the Quota relief effort. MARCH 1 IS THE DEADLINE for the acceptance of donations and the distribution of funds in the name of Quota.
Past International President Beris Pritchard, of Quota International of Redcliffe in Queensland, wrote earlier this week with details about the flooding.
“It is not the north, which usually cops the battering from cyclones, but the central and south-west areas of the state, which have for so long been in drought. These areas are very flat and have a huge river system with a very big catchment area. The rain started just before Christmas from a monsoonal trough and didn’t stop till new year—the river systems couldn’t hold the water and it just spread over land and kept rising, till Theodore, a small town of 200 people had to be totally evacuated. Total evacuation was not needed, but many people had to move to evacuation centers, as Emerald followed, then Bundaberg, and now Rockhampton at the mouth of the Fitzroy River and the end of the system of all of this water. Rockhampton, I think the third or fourth largest city in Queensland, is cut-off and inundated, including the airport and railway lines. In South Western Queensland, Chinchilla has been evacuated and St. George and Surat are waiting for the peak.
Some 200,000 people have been affected. Homes have been completely submerged to the roof line, both big shopping centers in Emerald went under water, including supermarkets, with a resulting loss of stock; many farm crops have been washed away, animal stock washed away or lost, and many businesses in the towns have been destroyed, such as car yards, electrical appliance stores, and specialty stores.
People are now slowly returning to their homes in Emerald and Bundaberg as the water drops, but mud covers everything and the smell is vile. Houses that have been submerged will have to be virtually re-built from the frame. People who refused to leave their homes in Rockhampton as the water continues to rise are without power, since the electricity had to be cut off, and are without fresh water. In Dalby, the water purification plant was flooded and the town is suffering a severe drinking water shortage. Although people are returning to clean out their homes, it will be many days or weeks before they can live in them again. Sewage plants have been flooded in Rockhampton and the flood waters carry not only massive amounts of rubbish, but also raw sewage—not to mention snakes. People are finding snakes in the mud in their homes as they return. Bundaberg is the only city affected where we have a Quota club, and as far as I’m aware, only one club member had the lower level of her home submerged, but their business of storage sheds and transport trucks has been destroyed.
But, although it is total devastation everywhere, the stoicism of the people is awe-inspiring as they move massive amounts of household goods out onto the footpath (side walk) to be taken away to the dump. One of the toughest things that I believe most people can relate to is the TV coverage of people pulling photo frames and paper out of the debris with very little print left on them—precious memories washed away.”