The east coast of Australia is reeling from a “rain bomb” that has swept south through two states so far, causing widespread flooding and mass evacuations on a scale described as “unprecedented” by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Volunteers in Queensland have been asked to press pause as rain continues to pummel the southeast of the state, with isolated severe storms bringing the risk of localised heavy rain and damaging winds this afternoon, according to the Bureau of Meteorology Queensland.
South of there, businesses on the mid-north coast of NSW are among the thousands up and down the coast working overtime to help those embroiled in the flood disaster, with so many losing their homes, pets, vehicles and more to the rapidly rising floodwaters across state lines.
Here are just three of the many businesses making a difference in the midst of the natural disaster.
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Lion & Lamb, Support Lismore Small Business
Manager of Lismore based marketing and design agency Lion & Lamb Sally Flannery has been using social media as a microphone to connect those who with a boat with those in need.
Flannery, who is the founder of Support Lismore Small Business, has been coordinating a group of more than 50 volunteers to match the “boaties” to stranded folks in locations identified by concerned friends and family.
Girl Geek Academy CEO Sarah Moran says the NSW State Emergency Service received 1150 calls for help, but with the help of Flannery’s gutsy volunteer team, halved it to 450 in 36 hours.
“What started as Facebook posts became a spreadsheet, which then evolved into a CRM as Sally used ClickUp to open-source a document that was then used by boaties, SES and police during the ‘rescue’ phase,” Moran explains to SmartCompany.
“Once the boat rescues were complete, this dream team of volunteers at the evacuation centre checked people in, while online volunteers across the state verified the safety of Lismore residents.”
Lennox Head Vet Clinic
The team at Lennox Head Vet Clinic are taking in oodles more pets than they have the capacity for — as well as stranded staff — to cover other clinics that have been forced to shut.
“Our thoughts are with everyone affected and displaced by the catastrophic flooding in our region,” the team posted to Facebook.
“If you have found a lost pet in floodwaters, you can bring them to us during our opening hours for microchip scanning and immediate care if necessary.”
The team at Lennox Head Vet Clinic are also encouraging people to reach out if their pets — or themselves — need accommodation, building a large cohort of volunteers ready to help.
“If you need somewhere temporary to shelter your pet(s), please contact us, we have had many people reach out able to care for pets at this time (in some cases, accommodation for displaced humans as well).”
Olli Ella homewares
Most of the Olli Ella team live in or around Byron Bay, and have either been evacuated from their homes, or are still without power and service.
“Luckily, our head office is not underwater, so a lot of our team have spent much of the week packing up Olli Ella items to donate to various shelters that have been set up around Byron Shire,” Olli Ella’s co-founder Chloe Brookman tells SmartCompany.
She says the team is also getting their hands dirty by helping clear out houses affected by floods and prepare masses of meals in evacuation centres.
Plus, the team used their Instagram platform of 267,000 followers to raise awareness of the flood crisis and urge people worldwide to donate to emergency relief via Good2Give which “ensure your donations go towards their intended purpose” (The Celeste Barber-RFS drama still ringing in many ears, evidently).
“We are uplifted by the Byron community, how countless businesses and individuals have banded together, rescuing, gathering donations, housing, providing care — the list goes on,” Brookman says.
“Community is everything.”