Massive effort to feed the Emergency crews – Bundaberg Australia
Severe Weather and Flooding at Bundaberg – 26 January 2013 to Date
On 26 January 2013 ex-tropical cyclone Oswald created chaotic conditions adjacent to Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia. Two communities on the coast, about 15 – 20 km from Bundaberg, suffered from a series of small but destructive tornados. A disaster area was declared and emergency services were rushed in to attend to the crisis.
Meanwhile the ex-cyclone was delivering rain in flood proportions in the extended catchment area of the Burnett River. Rainfalls of around 500 mm were recorded in the hinterland, and it became apparent that a major flood event was about to happen. By 8 AM on the 27th the Burnett River at Bundaberg had reached levels near to the 2010/2011 flood, and the river was still rising. Officially it was getting difficult to forecast the expected levels.
On 29 January 2013 the river peaked at 9.52 m in Bundaberg. This exceeded all heights since records started in 1870. Mass evacuations were ordered and temporary accommodation was set up. The north side of the city was cut off from the CBD; Bundaberg was isolated as all access roads were cut.
On 27 January 2013 members of the local Plymouth Brethren Christian Church offered to help the SES (State Emergency Service) and initially it was agreed that the Church would provide breakfast on three mornings to about 100 SES personnel. During Monday this escalated dramatically as other charities were diverted to the support of evacuees.
Since then the Plymouth Brethren Response Team have been serving three meals a day to up to more than 150 personnel; there have been SES people, ambulance personnel (the Bundaberg Ambulance Service was evacuated) Police officers, helicopter pilots, a few council workers and even a small number of Red Cross people.
As at 2 February 2013 there is no firm indication of how long the service will be needed but for planning purposes it is assumed that food service will be needed up to 15 February 2013. Plans are changing by the hour as the flood-waters recede and teams are deployed for the massive clean-up operation.
The Bundaberg Church is being supported by Plymouth Brethren members in other parts of Australia – there have been supplies of food and equipment and also a roster of helpers.
The actual organisation of the canteen was put together on about 12 hours’ notice, at a time when food supplies in the local shops were depleted and the roads cut; the jump to three meals a day has involved a lot of extra planning and off-site food preparation. The team have been grateful for donations of food and cash from the general public, and overall the personnel served have expressed delight with the quality of the food and service.
The last meal served by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church for the SES personnel was the evening meal Friday 8 February. By that stage there had been around 4,000 meals served.
The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church would like to express our gratitude to all of the community who came forward with donations. Support from the Bundaberg businesses has been outstanding, along with many touching donations of food by the public. Without this evident support of the SES effort there could have been real issues in the food and equipment supply.
The list below represents the many donors that have been identified – sincere apologies to any that have been overlooked, all donations were greatly appreciated.
|Bundaberg Brewed Drinks Pty Ltd||V Cees Wholesale Distributors|
|St Mary’s Catholic Primary School P & F Association||Dontors|
|IGA X-press – Avoca||Foodworks 56 Walker Street Bundaberg|
|Rum City Foods||Aldi Stores Kepnock|
|Woolworths, Bargara||North Coast Frozen Food|
|Farmfresh Fine Foods||St Vincent De Paul Society McLean St|
|Lindsay Brothers||Bi Lo Supermarkets Bundaberg|
|Chics Pies||Red Rooster Bundaberg|
|Bundaberg Taxi Co||The Cheesecake Shop Bundaberg|
|Beemart Enterprises||Rise the Bakehouse|
|Bundy Fresh Food Market||J. A. Toft & Co|
|Nana’s Pantry||Beachmere Bakery, Sharon Toohey|
|Bundy Maid||Pizza Hut Bundaberg|
|IGA X-Press – Kepnock||Domino’s Pizza Bundaberg|
|Bundaberg Refrigerated Transport||Eagle Boys Pizza – Bundaberg|
|Freshfield Meats||Emily Webster|
|Barritts Butchery||Pamela Tyrie|
|Bargara Bakery & Coffee Shop||Greg & Lyn Nicholson|
|Mike Nevin||Debra, Charters Towers|
|Ken’s Kepnock Butchery||Cameo Ash|
|Bauers Butchery Princess Street||Various anonymous members of the public|
THANK YOU TO ALL DONORS!
THANK YOU SES AND ALL EMERGENCY WORKERS FOR YOUR STRENUOUS EFFORTS!