Banding together in the face of disaster

Our Future | Banding together in the face of disaster

Early Saturday morning on March 20, flood waters entered the heart of Gloucester, located in the foothills of the heritage-listed Barrington Tops and a short drive from the pristine beaches of Forster.

Our business precinct and sporting complexes we inundated: mechanical tools, hardware equipment, hay bales and personal belongings all felt the wrath of fast-flowing water, rising faster and higher than predicted.

As water dampened the dreams of families and businesses, community members waged war on the flood.

Local football club members, school students and teachers, local business owners and community members stood together with shovels and sandbags at the ready to overcome nature's impacts.

On Friday night alone, more than 36 tonnes of sand was shoveled into sandbags and placed around town, with the threat of further flooding on Sunday resulting in a further six tonne being moved.

Community members were further relied upon to evacuate elderly out of their homes to safety, to raise stock in shops out of harm's way and use their own resources to protect the town.

As the threat of flooding receded throughout the week, many community members continued to band together to lead the recovery.

From washing stock that could be reused, removing sandbags and cleaning rubbish, our community spirit again proved too strong for the devastating impacts of the severe weather events, made worse by climate change.

The question remains though, where is our government?

We are lacking leadership to restore our vibrant rural economy, lacking support for families and businesses to get back on their feet and ensure their mental health is looked after.

We urgently need investment in long-term solutions, such as renewable energy, to reduce carbon emissions and climate change.

Despite the continued impacts of severe weather events in our area, our entire community has come together to rebuild, to restore and to re-energise the town of Gloucester.

We have moved quickly to clean-up, ensuring motels, caravan parks and key infrastructure is set up awaiting tourists for Easter.

Gloucester is open for business - ready for those to share nature's beauty and encourage a thriving rural economy.

Joshua Gilbert is a farmer from Gloucester, NSW.

This story Our Future | Banding together in the face of disaster first appeared on The Canberra Times.