Pictured: The flooding in the driveway of Mossman Support Services in the aftermath of Cyclone Jasper.

Sector Development Lead in Policy & Research, Chris Mundy, recently travelled to Far North Queensland to speak with Centres about sector issues, particularly their experience of community recovery after Cyclone Jasper.

Centres identified numerous issues requiring systems change, including communication between disaster stakeholders and centres, disaster service mapping, adequate funding for disaster recovery, short-term Community Recovery Connect workers, compounding disaster response and the relationship with and effectiveness of Local Disaster Management Groups.

Centres such as Mossman Support Services and Cooktown District Community Centre were particularly impacted by the floods from Cyclone Jasper. Mossman Support Services experienced flooding of two demountable buildings (owned by the organisation) and due to their location in a monsoonal area, were unable obtain insurance coverage for flood damage. They were immediately called upon to establish a recovery hub over the Christmas period despite losing office space to flood waters. They are seeking solutions to replace flood damaged infrastructure. Cooktown District Community Centre led disaster recovery in their vicinity, including support for community members displaced from severely flood damaged Aboriginal communities such as Wujal Wujal. Most centres in the Far North have seen increases in community members seeking support after the floods, including Kuranda Neighbourhood Centre, Mareeba Community Centre, Port Douglas Community Support Network, Manoora Neighbourhood Centre and more. Community members seek assistance with grant applications, housing, food relief, insurance claims and whitegoods replacement. Many centres have received funding for a 3 month Community Recovery Connect Worker to support flood affected community members in the initial recovery phase.

Feedback from Centres experiencing disaster is vital to improving the Disaster Management system in Queensland.