Listen: Oxley resident Lou Bromley spoke to Justin Rouillon about how their suburb has fared and how you can help.
Registrations are now open for the Mud Army 2.0 following the devastating flooding in Brisbane over the past week.
The original Mud Army saw thousands of Brisbane residents don the gum boots and rubber gloves, to muck in and help those who had been impacted by the floods of 2011. Such was the number of volunteers wanting to get into flood affected suburbs, the Brisbane road network was left in gridlock in many places.
As in 2011, the suburb of Oxley in Brisbane’s south west has been hit hard, with many houses being swamped, and residents yet again facing the prospect of days, even weeks with no power, and an overwhelming clean up.
Lou Bromley runs the Oxley Community 4075 Facebook group, and said that there have been lessons learned from the 2011 floods, and how the Mud Army can be an even bigger help to those hit by flooding.
“This event is post-trauma from 2011; a lot of people are saying how devastating those floods were with strangers coming into their yards and houses with good intentions to help clean up. The main problem was that so many precious memories that didn’t need to be thrown away were, because people didn’t talk.
“If you’re volunteering, don’t force help onto people who may just need some time to think about what has just happened to their house. People are still processing what has taken place, and many people still have water on their property.”
Lou said that the main things for volunteers to focus on are empathy and respect.
“If you are going to go and help people who are flooded anywhere, not just Oxley, you have to listen to the owners. If they have no idea what they want just chill out – let them have space.
“Don’t go charging in and ripping things off their walls or throwing all their worldly possessions out onto the footpath. You’ve got to give them the respect and the space because it’s their call on how their things are to be dealt with.
“A good helper as part of the Mud Army will give the owners the space they need to figure out what help they need, and follow their direction.”
If you can’t lend a hand physically but still want to help the recovery effort, Lou says that donating through the charity GIVIT is your best option.
“If you donate money through GIVIT it means it can be turned into gift cards. Donating second hand things is often not the solution; gift cards means that flood victims can purchase things that are fit for their purpose.
“When you’ve been through trauma, when you’ve lost everything, if you can get something that works for you – I think that’s really important.
GIVIT currently has a range of needs for Queensland and New South Wales listed on their website, many of these being gift cards, but also day to day basics and necessities.
You can register to become part of the Mud Army 2.0 at the Brisbane City Council website. You can also register to receive help if you need it.
Listen to the full interview with Lou in the audio player above.