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One-stop information page provides help for community hit by weekend storms

Mayor Teresa Harding with QFES Assistant Commissioner Kevin Walsh at Ipswich SES

Ipswich City Council has launched an online “one-stop-shop” to assist residents impacted  by the devastating storm over the weekend.

The Ipswich Hail Event community information page is now live on council’s Shape Your Ipswich page and provides advice and assistance for the thousands of Ipswich residents across Springfield, Springfield Lakes, Rosewood, Willowbank and Thagoona who took a direct hit from the hail.

For information, go here

There is also a frequently asked questions section dealing with financial assistance, recovery and moving forward.

Mayor Teresa Harding said it is a dedicated information page, and “one-stop-shop” for residents, home-owners or renters, to find information about who to contact and to ask questions. New information will be updated as it becomes available from external stakeholders.

“Our affected communities need vital information on how to move forward and help with working out what to do next, and this is just one way council is working with partners and stakeholders to share information,” she said.

Mayor Harding and QFES Assistant Commissioner Kevin Walsh visited Ipswich SES Headquarters at Thorn Street and spoke to volunteers who had been working around the clock since Saturday afternoon.

Mr Walsh described it as the worst hail event he had seen in his emergency services career and it required some specialist work at height as crews had to tend to severely damaged roofs, ceilings, windows and solar panels.

“In all my time I have never seen hail the size that we had in the southeast region. I have never seen that sort of damage to roofs. It was a huge hail storm that turned into projectiles and damaged the whole integrity of tile roofs,” he said.

Mr Walsh said the latest information from the weather bureau forecast thunderstorms tomorrow and he urged people to find alternative accommodation if their homes were uninhabitable after Saturday’s storm.

Mayor Harding thanked QFES and SES recovery crews and was delighted to hear more were on the way.

Specialist urban search and rescue firefighters and SES volunteers from around Queensland were spread out across Ipswich today, and additional SES volunteers from New South Wales and South Australia would be in the region from tomorrow.

“I want to particularly thank QFES and the SES, they’re bringing people from interstate to help us out. We appreciate their support … we really need it.”

Mayor Harding also encouraged residents to take advantage of the council-staffed community centres open at Springfield Lakes (8am-10pm daily) and Rosewood (hours varied). They had provided extensive assistance to date with access to insurance companies, funding assistance from the State Government, phone and laptop charging, food and drink.

“I urge people to go to these support centres. Council and other government services are there helping residents with insurance claims, hardship payments, feeding them and providing advice,” she said.

The mayor, who chairs the Local Disaster Management Group, said fellow councillors, council staff and volunteers were on hand to provide support to the community and would continue in coming days.

She said the extent of damage was enormous with more than 1,800 calls to emergency services on Saturday and that council’s disaster management teams had not seen anything like it in many years.

“We are talking about 30-40 previous hailstorms, they have never seen anything like this, so much damage to tiled roofs,” she said.

Mayor Harding said one of the saddest aspects was that the recovery effort had meant some homes had been without power and uninhabitable and it had temporarily split families as they sought shelter elsewhere.

She urged residents whom were insured to get in touch with their insurance companies as quickly as possible so repair work could start promptly.

“It is going to be a really traumatic time for some over the next few months but I want them to know that your council is here and will continue to do its best to help families find new homes and get back on their feet,” she said.

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>>>Mayor praises recovery efforts and asks storm victims to be patient

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