The homes of at least two LCA members from Townsville were inundated during the North Queensland city’s floods from late last month, in which 1.4 metres of rain fell in just 12 days and at least three people died.
Rebecca Cronau, ministry coordinator for children and youth at Townsville Lutheran Parish and wife of Pastor Stephen Cronau, last week said many people she knew were evacuated from their homes, while some were still staying with family and friends, as their homes were uninhabitable.
She said that while the elevated St Paul’s church had water go underneath it and flood its backyard, it was ‘a blessing’ the building was not inundated. And while the newly constructed St Paul’s Early Learning Centre (ELC) building at the site was not affected, its backyard play area will have to be bulldozed due to health concerns.
‘Several ELC staff and many ELC families have lost everything’, Mrs Cronau said. ‘The recovery bill is around $124 million, but they are expecting the total economic impact to reach the $1 billion dollar mark. The recovery phase is expected to take around two years.’
She said church members were volunteering ‘however, wherever and whenever they can’, while some were housing other members who had been affected, and were assisting with cleaning, washing clothes, and providing meals. ‘Townsville is a resilient community, but you don’t have to look too hard to see that many are hurting, and many have lost everything.’
Mrs Cronau encouraged members of the wider church to pray for people affected by the floods. Anyone also wishing to contribute financially, can donate to the LCA Disaster & Welfare Fund here.
Meanwhile, Launceston Lutheran Church members Cynthia and Laurie Harris have had a close call on their property in Tasmania’s bushfire-ravaged Huon Valley.
Knowing the area was under threat in late January, and with guidance from emergency crews, the couple visited the property to make it safer for firefighters by removing gas bottles and fuel containers. The duo got out safely and their caravan on the site was spared despite fire going through the property.
‘We spent a hurried and anxious 20 minutes clearing what we could around the caravan … when we heard a loud explosion from the creek below and witnessed dark plumes of smoke coming up the valley towards us. We left immediately – it felt like we were just ahead of the flames’, Mrs Harris said.
As of late last week, she said seven homes had been lost to bushfires in the area, and more than 200,000 hectares were burnt across the state.