Australians have been urged not to forget the thousands of families impacted by the most expensive flood in the nation’s history in the delicate weeks leading up to Christmas, as trusted charity, Rural Aid, prepares to deploy assistance measures to some of the communities hardest hit by this natural catastrophe.
Much of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia was subjected to record rainfall between September and November, with more than 130 local government areas (LGAs) declared disaster zones.
More than $5.5 billion in damages have been recorded so far – more than any other flooding event in Australia’s history – as the dire consequences for regional communities become a harsh reality.
The true cost is estimated to be significantly higher given farmers may not have been insured for many of the losses incurred and there remains limited information as to the ongoing loss of income thousands of rural businesses will suffer.
Trusted charity Rural Aid has relaunched its Buy a Bale fundraiser in response to the disaster, and will team up with the Rapid Relief Team to support a Farmer’s Community Connect event in Rochester to help flood-affected Victorian farmers.
Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the event is a chance for farmers to come together for support.
“These floods have had unprecedented impact on rural Australians – families are losing their homes and livelihoods and entire towns are being wiped out,” Mr Warlters said.
“It is difficult to measure the true toll the floods are taking, and will continue to take, on impacted farmers and communities – many of whom have experienced drought, bushfires and multiple flooding events in just the past four years.
“Our immediate concern is the mental health and wellbeing of families in the leadup to Christmas, however, once the emergency subsides, communities face a long and challenging road to recovery.”
Rural Aid’s registered mental health counsellors will be at the event, where farmers can register for free A-grade, feed-tested hay while enjoying a free BBQ lunch and connecting with local service providers.
Rochester is located in Campaspe – one of the 55 disaster-declared LGA’s across Victoria.
Almost 500,000 hectares of farmland have been flooded across the state, an area equivalent to more than half the size of Melbourne, wiping millions of dollars from farm incomes and causing immeasurable stress on rural families.
There is now also a growing possibility the flood event will be protracted and episodic with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting above average rainfall from December to January in many of the already impacted areas.
“This particular event poses a unique challenge in that unlike the drought, where some farmers were better prepared or could take steps to manage the impact, this has been sudden and widespread,” said Mr Warlters.
“Additionally, the many years of droughts, floods and fires have left many families at breaking point.”
Farmer’s Community Connect
When: Thursday, 15 December 2022
Where: Rochester Recreation Reserve, Reserve Street, Rochester
Time: 7.00am to 3.00pm
To support Rural Aid or make a donation go to: www.buyabale.com.au
Ashleigh Whittaker, Rural Aid media officer
0447 116 757
John Warlters, Rural Aid CEO
0409 618 641
More about Rural Aid
Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Rural Aid provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au