Brisbane Floods: Evening Update and How to Help

January 13, 2011 by Henry Benjamin
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As the Brisbane River’s level begins to fall, more information is becoming available about the effect the Queensland floods have had on Brisbane’s Jewish community

J-Wire learned this evening Rob Minchul was stranded on the upper floor of his Toowong home for more than three hours and was forced to escape the rising waters by climbing on to the roof of his home. His wife and daughter had moved earlier to higher ground.

Ari Heber, head of the Queensland Jewish Community Services reports: “More than 20 buildings, homes or businesses, were inundated. Although levels have now dropped, six remain without power and eight families remain isolated.

Although details remain sketchy, Heber makes it abundantly clear that for most of Brisbane, not situated close to the river, roads are open and there are plenty of basic supplies available.

Jason Steinberg, the president of the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies, has issued the following statement….

Jason Steinberg

“Over the last 48 hours it has become clear that a number of Jewish people have had their homes and businesses destroyed by the floods. There are also a number of people who have evacuated, lost power and/or are stranded in their homes.
Thankfully, all our Jewish institutions and buildings have remained safe and dry.

Queensland Jewish Community Services, Chabad and other communal organisations have been working very hard to ensure we understand the impact on Jewish people.

At this stage, we know the following:

  • 20+ people have been forced to evacuate their homes and businesses
  • 20+ homes and businesses have been flooded
  • 6+ homes are currently without power
  • 8+ families are isolated in their homes.

We have also been overwhelmed by offers of assistance by Jewish and non-Jewish people. It is testimony to the Jewish spirit that exists here in Queensland. To date more than 50 people have offered to assist in some way.

At this stage, it is too early to provide assistance to those whose houses are still flooded and we will have to wait until the ‘official ok’ is given to help with the clean-up efforts.

We will be in touch as soon as we are able to assign jobs and activities.

What can you do now?

One of the most critical needs is to assist those people who are without power. If you have a portable generator, camping stove, torches, eskies (and ice) that you can donate, please email Ari Heber (ari@qjcs.org.au) or text to 0423 194 737.

If you know of someone who is in need and they have not made contact with Ari Heber or Rabbi Jaffe, please email ari@qjcs.org.au ASAP.

We are working together to ensure we keep up-to-date on what is happening with communal members in need and will endevour to next update the community after Shabbat.

In the meantime, J-Wire is supporting the Australian Jewish New’s campaign to send toys and toiletries to Queensland. In Melbourne, drop them off at Level 1, 589 Glenhuntly Rd, Elsternwick between 9am and 5pm. In Sydney, Our Big Kitchen at 36 Flood St will make sure your donations find their way to those in need.

JewishAid has also launched a campaign. Contribute at www.jewishaid.org.au

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