HELPING OUT: Kingaroy resident Lynda Lange with some of the other Samaritan's Purse volunteers in Townsville.

Seeing flood devastation first hand

South Burnett
14th March 2019 5:00 AM
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DESERTED houses, streets filled with tradie utes and whole suburbs awaiting the opportunity to rebuild weeks after the Townsville floods.

This is what Samaritan's Purse volunteer Lynda Lange saw when she travelled up to assist with the clean-up at the end of February.

The Kingaroy resident said many parts of the city were back to normal, but some suburbs had been seriously flooded.

One day she saw a view of a Townsville lookout and saw the extent of flood damage in a make-shift dump at a carpark.

 

CLEAN UP: One of the Samaritan's Purse disaster relief workers hard at work in the Townsville clean-up.
CLEAN UP: One of the Samaritan's Purse disaster relief workers hard at work in the Townsville clean-up. Contributed

"A lot of things have to be dumped because of the contaminated water," Mrs Lange said.

"It's people's whole lives, the memories people lose, the photos and irreplaceable things."

Mrs Lange met one man whose home was impacted by serious flooding.

"He was a lover of books, it was tragic so many of his books had to be thrown out," she said.

 

COORDINATOR: Kingaroy resident Lynda Lange working at the Samaritan's Purse disaster relief unit in Townsville after the 2019 flood.
COORDINATOR: Kingaroy resident Lynda Lange working at the Samaritan's Purse disaster relief unit in Townsville after the 2019 flood. Contributed

The physical recovery from the floods is only part of the transition back to normal life, with many residents emotional in the aftermath.

The disaster relief unit is new in Australia for Samaritan's Purse, well known for their Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, and will also deploy volunteers to disasters overseas when needed.

Mrs Lange did training late last year for a Disaster Assistance Response Team, and worked in administration in Townsville.

 

The Samaritan's Purse Disaster Relief unit where Lynda Lange volunteered.
The Samaritan's Purse Disaster Relief unit where Lynda Lange volunteered. Contributed

She co-ordinated the Samaritan's Purse volunteers and assessed and prioritised jobs for the elderly, sick and uninsured.

"If you don't have administration and documentations of the requests for help, you've just got chaos," Mrs Lange said.

She occasionally joined the volunteers out in the streets with the clean-up.

With high humidity after the floods many houses were covered by black mould.

 

AFTERMATH: Some of the mould found in the houses after the 2019 Townsville floods.
AFTERMATH: Some of the mould found in the houses after the 2019 Townsville floods. Contributed

Mrs Lange visited a lady fractured her hip when the flood waters came up.

"There was no way she was going to be able to clean up the floors," she said.

She also worked alongside volunteers who had been through the floods themselves.

 

VIEW: Lynda Lange observes the Ross River is now completely receded and safely within its banks.
VIEW: Lynda Lange observes the Ross River is now completely receded and safely within its banks. Contributed

Mrs Lange looks forward to volunteering with the disaster response team in the future.

"It's a chance to be a part of helping people in a situation where they need help," she said.

"You're always blessed when you give of your time, it's more fulfilling than working for money."