For affected communities, the recovery challenge continues one year on from the Victorian floods
For many communities in northern and western Victoria this week marks the one year anniversary of the worst of the 2011 floods and the largest Red Cross relief and recovery program in Victoria since the Black Saturday bushfires.
Red Cross Executive Director Victoria, Toni Aslett, said many Victorians in flood affected communities were still doing it tough and had a long way to go in their recovery journey.
"For a number of people the anniversary will not necessarily be a time for celebration as they continue the hard slog of rebuilding their lives following the devastating floods. This rebuilding process involves not only reconstruction of houses and businesses, but also means re-establishing the whole fabric of the community," said Ms Aslett.
"We know from our experience with the Black Saturday bushfires that recovery from a major disaster can be a long and difficult process for individuals, families and communities. We also know from our research that the impact of floods can be particularly insidious. As part of our flood recovery program Red Cross staff and volunteers have visited around 7,000 Victorians over the past year to help them met this challenge.
"Around the anniversary we are urging people to be aware of the longer term psychological and social impact of the disaster. Thousands of people across affected communities have made significant progress as they recover psychologically and physically from the floods, but many people will still be starting this second year in an emotionally drained state."
From September 2010 to February 2011, Victoria experienced some of the worst floods in the state's history as extraordinarily heavy rainfall caused flooding of multiple rivers, including the Avoca, Campaspe, Loddon, Goulburn and Wimmera rivers. The floods hit over 100 towns and thousands of properties over this period including many that had previously experienced more than a decade of drought.
"The floods caused huge upheaval for many communities in Victoria. In response to the crisis, Red Cross had more than 1,300 staff and volunteers working to support affected communities in more than 20 relief and recovery centres across the state," said Ms Aslett.
"Red Cross and the Victorian Government established the Victorian Floods Appeal 2011, which raised $17.9 million. The independent Victorian Floods Disaster Relief Fund Panel, chaired by Mr Ron Walker and including representatives from Red Cross, the Government and flood affected communities, is overseeing the allocation of these funds."
Flood affected Victorian communities continue to require a high level of ongoing support. To find out how you can support Red Cross emergency services work in Victoria, including donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery, please visit www.redcross.org.au. A number of Red Cross resources to assist people in recovering from an emergency are also available on the website.
For more information contact James Molan on 03 8327 7757 or 0448 571 484.