Along with most other Australians I have been moved and disturbed by the unfolding flood disaster in northern Australia. The floods are said to cover an area of Australia the size of France and Germany combined. Typical of Australia we also have bushfires in the western part of the country.
Over the past few days as the scale of the tragedy has become apparent I have observed people reaching out to help. Social media has again stepped into the breach in an emergency situation, providing fast breaking news (with occasional misinformation, usually corrected speedily), coordination of assistance, uncovering of scams or shaming bad behaviour, and sharing of needs.
Jason Langenauer’s tweet this morning summed it up for me and made me glad to be a part of this country that pulls together in a crisis and helps out those who are in need:
“The values exposed by this flood – mateship, care for people, altruism – are the complete opposite of the usual values of capitalism.”
Source: Twitter, Jason Langenauer Tweet 12 Jan 2011
There has been an outpouring of support for the flood victims with donations at $32million as of this morning. More information on the QLD government site.
Again Twitter has proved itself to be a great resource in a disaster situation. It has enabled people to easily pool resources and to share information where the traditional media is just to slow or not capable. Some great examples of this include:
- @lexiphanic created this resource for people unable to access government or news media sites due to high traffic: Brisbane Flood Flag Maps (& other info)
- @spyjournal created this resource for people to share information about the floods at www.qldfloods.org
- The ABC created a #qldfloods crowdsourced map
- @abcmarkscott announced the ABC had removed geoblocking on their 24 hour news channel so that worried expats could follow the disaster
Many people tweeted about the Queensland Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal ensuring scam sites were not used – official Qld government site #thebigwet #qldfloods Donate to the official flood relief appeal here.
Retailers perceived as seeking to cash in on the #qldfloods were speedily smacked down on Twitter – like this one.
Individuals made offers of help via Twitter like:
” If there are pets in need of housing let us know! We have 5acres #qldfloods #thebigwet #bnefloods #RT”
“Now that we’re safe, this is a 6 bedroom house. There’s beds for 3 and floor space for twenty. Peeps in need – ping me. #qldfloods”
“have space for pets from evacuations if needed. On a hill in brisbane. Please rt. #qldfloods”
“Anyone in New Farm area needing some storage space – our place isn’t in the flood zone. Have LUG and a spare room #qldfloods #bnefloods”
It has been heartening to see that only one politician so far has tried to use this disaster as a political sledge hammer. While, in my opinion, the performance of Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and the Mayors of the affected areas has been excellent under extremely difficult circumstances. One of my favourite comments came from the Ipswich Mayor: “If I find anybody looting in our city they will be used as flood markers” (via @1233newcastle).
Kudos to the organisations who have already made donations of greater than $10,000.
Some resources and ways to help:
Donate to the Queensland Government flood relief appeal
Donations can also be made in person at any branch of the Bank of Queensland, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ, NAB or Suncorp.
Donate to RSPCA Queensland to help animals
Lifeline phone: 13 11 14
Alerts and updates
- Disaster management updates
- Weather warnings – Bureau of Meteorology (BOM)
- @colgo is running a live coverage site on News.com.au
- Power outages
- Traffic and travel information in Queensland