Support for communities affected by Cyclone Debbie

The President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Stuart McMillan, has asked church members to lend their support to Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) appeals for communities suffering in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.

“Our Church will be there to support people in need and help Queensland and northern NSW recover,” said Stuart.

“Please continue to pray for the safety and the welfare of all affected communities, as they come to terms with their losses.”

“I ask all UCA members to please try to support our appeals, which go to support ministry in these communities.”

Cyclone Debbie made landfall on the Whitsunday Coast as a Category 4 storm with winds of more than 260 kilometres an hour on Monday 28 March causing extensive damage.

Five days later water, shelter and communications are still limited into towns of Ayr, Bowen and Proserpine.

Torrential rains from the weakening cyclone have also seen rivers in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales reach record peaks, causing major flooding in Beaudesert, Lismore and the Tweed Valley.

Tens of thousands of residents had to be evacuated.

Counsellors from Lifeline UnitingCare Community in Queensland are working in the disaster-affected communities to supports locals to deal with the trauma of the last week.

Disaster relief chaplains in NSW are working at evacuation centres in flood-affected areas in Lismore and the the Tweed Valley.

National Disaster Recovery officer, Rev Dr Stephen Robinson says all communities face a long road to recovery.

“What’s most needed now are our prayers and support,” said Stephen.

“Your donations will support the recovery of those affected by providing personal and practical care to people, many of whom might otherwise fall through the gaps of formal support.”

“The Uniting Church is well-placed to provide this kind of support, because we’re part of the affected community, and we’ll be there alongside the community into the future.”

In the weeks ahead, the Synods of Queensland and NSW/ACT will be sending trained peer supporters to come alongside church leadership as the process of recovery begins.

Stephen will be following up with affected presbyteries and congregations and working with Synods to assist the recovery effort.

Queensland Synod has launched a Disaster Relief Appeal.

The NSW/ACT Synod is encouraging its members to donate to the Moderator’s Appeal.

The Assembly’s National Disaster Relief Fund remains open to receive donations, with funds to be drawn on by Uniting Churches and agencies supporting recovery in affected areas.

Donations of $2 and over are tax-deductible.

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