Photo above: In this image released by the New Zealand Defense Force on Wednesday, Februrary 15, 2023, a road between Napier and Wairoa is washed out by flood water. The New Zealand government declared a National State of Emergency Tuesday after Cyclone Gabrielle battered the country's north in what officials described as the nation's most severe weather event in years. (New Zealand Defense Force via AP)
In early 2022, heavy rainfall led to record-setting flooding in Australia, specifically New South Wales and Queensland. Lismore was one of the hardest hit regions. Some areas received up to 3 feet of rain in three days. The torrential downpour caused one of the only dams in New South Wales to overflow, adding to the rising rivers and causing flash-floods.
Bottled water, food, and fuel became rare commodities as a result of the severe flooding.
Convoy of Hope responded by providing essentials to people in need, including food, water, hygiene items, and other necessities. In less than four days, Convoy of Hope’s teams got to the disaster area and started distributing relief supplies. Convoy is working with its team in Australia and several other partners to continue responding as relief efforts carry on.
Encouragement From Empathetic Neighbors
In 2020, Convoy of Hope responded to the bushfires that raged across Australia. Part of Convoy’s response to the flooding in the Lismore area of Australia included encouraging letters and postcards from the bushfire survivors to the survivors of the recent flooding.
Recent Disaster in New Zealand
This week, Cyclone Gabrielle has prompted New Zealand to declare a National State of Emergency — only for the third time in history. The island nation experienced similar record rainfall earlier this year, causing extreme flooding in the Auckland area.
“This has been and continues to be a serious and significant event for our region,” said Rachel Kelleher, Deputy Controller Auckland Emergency Management on Tuesday.
The cyclone is the second significant weather event to hit Auckland and the upper North Island in just a few weeks. Last month, record rainfall hit Auckland and surrounding areas, prompting floods and killing four people. Upon first impact, some 46,000 homes lost electricity.
“The biggest needs right now are water, food, and supplies,” said Convoy’s Michelle McAndrews.
Joel A’Bell, Regional Leader for Convoy of Hope Oceania, said, “We are working with our church partners in Auckland to respond to the immediate need for essential supplies for families that have been displaced.”
Convoy of Hope Australia is currently partnering with local churches to assess needs and provide food, water, baby care products, pet food, clothing, bedding, and more. Convoy will remain committed to providing hope in every storm, including the flooding in Oceania.