In a big change from basketball, the temporary flood evacuation centre at Ballina Indoor Sports Centre on Cherry Street was a hive of activity across the weekend as displaced residents found emergency shelter and assistance.
The Echo spoke to Ballina Council’s Kelly Brown (Director, Corporate and Community Division) who took a few minutes in a very busy day to provide an update about what was happening.
Ms Brown said all immediate needs were in hand. ‘Yes, we’ve got lots of volunteers. We’ve got all the supplies that we need.
‘We’ve got plenty of food and water and bedding. All the evacuees have been really well looked after.’
She said there were about sixty people being supported with accommodation, food and other assistance, with more people expected. ‘Everybody’s going really well.’
Ms Brown explained that there were also other evacuation centres running across Ballina Shire, such as the Lennox Head Cultural Centre, the High School at East Ballina and the Alstonville Cultural Centre, with the facilities collectively able to accommodate all the evacuees needing support.
‘So at the moment, it’s been an amazing response. There are a huge number of volunteers coming in and doing amazing work. We’re really, really blessed to have such a great community, she said.
What about Council?
Kelly Brown said the Ballina Council chambers had escaped being flooded, and was now fully operational after losing power earlier in the crisis.
‘We’ve got all our communications back up and running now. So we’re ready to go Monday morning.’
Ms Brown said the main enquiries coming in from the general public were about waste management following the flood emergency. She said the best strategy was to leave waste items out the front of houses.
‘Please don’t go to the tip,’ she said. ‘If you can, just put all your materials out the front. We’ve got a crew of workers that are coming along behind and collecting that for you.
Where to get help
Ballina Council is requesting that people hold on to material donations for now, with assistance of this kind likely to be needed later.
The following government support has been announced so far, with more funding to help individuals and families to be announced in coming days.
Please call Service NSW on 13 77 88 or visit Service NSW to register for the following:
- Grants for small businesses: up to $50,000 is available to cover costs including repairing damaged fittings and equipment and replacing stock.
- Grants for non-profit organisations: up to $50,000 is available to cover costs including repairing damaged fittings and equipment and replacing stock.
- Flood Clean-up Package: the clean-up covers both insured and uninsured properties and assists with the clean-up and restoration of flood damaged assets. (This will be organised through Resilience NSW, details to follow.)
- The Disaster Recovery Payment is $1000 per adult and $400 per child. For a family with two adults and two children, that’s $2800 available now. Visit the Disaster Recovery Payment to claim.
Ballina Council says there are Centrelink and Service NSW staff available at all evacuation centres to assist with claims.
People in Ballina Shire can also volunteer help or request assistance here.