A man who rode his motorbike across the Nullarbor Plain from Perth to Lismore is among thousands of volunteers from around Australia who have helped NSW mid-north coast flood victims.
Grassroots recovery group Resilient Lismore is calling for the nation’s continued support as it helps rebuild the regional city four months after the catastrophic floods, which left thousands of homes uninhabitable.
The organisation has coordinated more than 8000 volunteers and completed more than 2100 clean-up jobs since the floods, which began in late February.
The group says there are still hundreds of projects to complete, many requiring skilled labour and extra materials.
Director Elly Bird is urgently calling for more funds and volunteers to build walls in damaged homes to protect vulnerable and elderly people during winter.
“If you drive through our residential areas there are still hundreds, if not thousands of homes that have no walls,” Ms Bird told AAP on Wednesday.
“There’s so much work yet to do.”
The group has received help from volunteers who travelled from Newcastle, the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, and as far away as Perth for early recovery efforts including cleaning, mould treatment and demolition.
Continued support is crucial, as recovery agencies and donation distribution centres wind up their local presence, Ms Bird said.
“We can’t do it without support from communities across Australia.
“We need people’s care, compassion and donations to keep us going.”
New data from the Insurance Council of Australia this week showed the widespread devastation across northern NSW and southeast Queensland caused $4.8 billion in insured damages.
Ms Bird said Resilient Lismore, which formed after the 2017 floods, has valuable local knowledge and networks for its community-focused recovery.
A worker shortage in the region means many are unable to access help, including mental health services.
“It’s important the community is able to support each other,” Ms Bird said.
“We’re really focused on … ensuring that aspect of our social recovery continues.”