Residents of central Queensland are being urged to get ready to help their local community after severe weather events with storm and cyclone season drawing closer.
In partnership with the Queensland government, Australian charity GIVIT manages all offers of donated goods and services after severe weather events and other disasters.
GIVIT CEO and Founder Juliette Wright said through the website givit.org.au, local residents are able to match their generosity with genuine need by finding out exactly what is needed in impacted regions.
“When disasters occur, we will work with frontline services in central Queensland to identify their exact needs and list them online,” she said, “That’s why we are urging the local community to prepare for recovery by heading to GIVIT’s website now,” said Ms Wright.
“We are there to support local charities, community groups and councils in their time of greatest need – when recovering from disasters.”
SES Regional Manager Andrew Wyatt said it was important for central Queenslanders to prepare for disasters.
“To get ready for storm and cyclone season, we’re asking residents to prepare an emergency plan and emergency kit,” said Mr Wyatt.
“An emergency kit should be able to sustain you and your family for at least three days if essential services are disrupted or you have been isolated by flood water.
“Involve everyone in your household when preparing and practising your emergency plan. It’s vital everyone in your family knows what to do during a severe weather event.
“By taking these simple steps you can help the SES by first helping yourself.”
Mr Wyatt said residents should also consider how they would recover after a severe weather event, including what to do if their property or possessions are damaged.
“GIVIT do great work managing the donations of goods and services after a disaster, helping those residents who have lost everything,” he said.
“This allows emergency services to focus on those residents who are vulnerable or in need of emergency assistance.”
During the 2011 Queensland floods, the GIVIT website received 1.8 million hits in 10 days and more than 33,500 goods were matched in three weeks.
This led to the establishment of a dedicated GIVIT Disaster Recovery service activated during the Bundaberg floods, Cyclone Ita, Malanda Floods, Tropical Cyclone Marcia, the South East Queensland Floods, Beenleigh House Fire and the Ravenshoe Café Explosion.
Ms Wright said it was important that people don’t send unwanted goods or items into disaster zones.
“We know from experience that after natural disasters there is an outpouring of support from Australians, the GIVIT website is a fantastic way of channelling that support.”
“This saves councils and charities both time and money when it comes to managing donations and is a free service they can sign up for.”
“We would urge local charities to register at givit.org.au now and locals to think about what high quality items they have that they could potentially donate so that after a disaster strikes, communities are ready help themselves.”