Lismore floods: ‘People have lost everything’

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Lismore Bishop Greg Homeming OCD (at right) being evacuated from his home 28 March. He was able to return shortly afterwards. Photo: Facebook/Diocese of Lismore

Record-breaking floods wreaked havoc in Lismore and the entire state’s coastline was put on high alert this week.

On Monday the outside of St Vincent’s Hospital in Dalley Street became an impromptu boat ramp for dozens of private boats as people answered cries for help or calls on social media to rescue family members stuck in their homes, said the hospital’s director of mission and diocesan director of communications Joe Pereira.

“Many people have lost everything but Lismore is still doing what it always does, pulling together.”

“Many people have lost everything but Lismore is still doing what it always does, pulling together,” he said.

Extraordinary photos on social media showed businesses submerged and more homes than had been reached by floodwaters in living memory, with water even entering St Carthage’s cathedral and other church and school buildings despite its elevated position on Leycester Street and forcing an evacuation of Bishop Greg Homeming OCD, clergy and cathedral staff.

Following days of flooding in Brisbane, the Wilsons River at Lismore reached 14.4 metres, more than two metres higher than the previous record of 12.27 metres in February, 1954.

By Tuesday morning waters had begun to recede from the cathedral grounds, but administrator Fr Bing Monteagudo said the welfare of the town was still a “very big worry” as nearly all of the CBD was still completely underwater.

“Please keep us in your prayers, keep the people of Lismore in your prayers and make sure if there’s any help you can lend to people in the town, please do so,” he said.

At least four people are reported to have lost their lives from floodwaters in the Lismore area, following at least nine deaths in Queensland.

Jesse Smith, acting principal at Trinity Catholic College Lismore said the devastation wreaked over 24 hours in the city made “our hearts very heavy”.

“Please continue to pray for those who have lost everything, those who await rescuing and those who will spend tonight in evacuation centres,” he said on social media last Monday.

“Our College community joins with our broader community in solidarity, prayer and resolve.”

Volunteers use boats to rescue people in Lismore. Photo: Facebook

St Vincent de Paul Society’s Lismore Central Council President Gail Gaudron told The Catholic Weekly that like the other CBD residents, she would have to wait to see how much damage the local St Vincent de Paul Society office and shop had been sustained, and was ready to prepare a local response with the Regional Director of the North East division of St Vincent de Paul Society Clare van Doorn in the coming days.

“We will be available for all kinds of assistance in the recovery phase after people have cleaned up and assessed their needs,” she said, adding that she was grateful for additional offers of support made by the Sydney Archdiocese and Broken Bay Diocesan Vinnies councils along with a state-wide appeal.

Diocese of Lismore 2022 Flood Appeal

To donate in Australia, please transfer funds to the account below:

BSB: 037-889
Account number: 1061 5829
Name: DOL Flood Appeal

To donate from other countries use this PayPal link: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=DDS9CFAWSPLYN This link can also be used within Australia.

Please note that donations to the Diocese of Lismore Flood Appeal are NOT tax deductible.

For enquiries, email [email protected]

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