Storm victims, recovery crews, emergency services and council staff have been working arm-in-arm since Saturday’s unprecedented hail storm which significantly damaged resident’s homes, vehicles and property; leaving hundreds of residents homeless as they have no choice but to vacate in the wake of the disaster.
After a very difficult week, they received a glimmer of hope and encouragement that more help was on its way, with a visit from the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding.
Mayor Harding welcomed and congratulated the recently re-elected Premier as they toured the YMCA Community Centre at Springfield Lakes on Friday morning.
Both the Premier and Mayor personally offered their ongoing support to those who had been impacted and vowed to keep working together across local, state and federal agencies to support community recovery efforts.
Along the way, they met Springfield Lakes residents Nimesh and Meera Modi who have been unable to live in their home since the storm.
Nimesh and Meera relayed how their roof has been completely smashed and they had experienced extensive water damage throughout the house.
“As we drove home after the storm, we turned the corner at the school and the oval and saw a carpet of white on the ground, it looked like a snow field and when we drove down our lane it looked like a hurricane had swept through,” Mrs Modi said.
Darter Place, Springfield Lakes
“All of our neighbours were out in the street, everyone was in shock.
“We had dead birds in our driveway and our new car was completely smashed.”
Mr Modi described the scene as something you might see in a war zone but he was quick to point out that it had brought the community even closer together.
“The community has been very supportive of each other whether it’s help to clean up or to provide emotional support,” he said.
“The YMCA centre has really assisted a lot of families and a lot of local businesses have stepped up to provide food and services.
“Our friend Ajay Bulsara has taken us into his home which means a lot, I really value his friendship.”
Mandeep Kaur speaks with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the YMCA Community Centre at Springfield Lakes
The YMCA Springfield Lakes Community Centre has been transformed for local residents to have hot showers, share a meal and get information from various agencies and support groups.
Mayor Harding, speaking at the media conference, thanked the Premier for meeting with impacted residents Friday morning and local State Member Charis Mullen and Federal Member Milton Dick for their presence in the community.
“On Saturday afternoon we set up the Local Disaster Coordination Centre in response to the hail storm that came through and we have been working continuously (since Saturday),” Mayor Harding said.
“Many seasoned disaster responders have told me they have never seen impacts of this magnitude from a hail storm.
“Likewise, I’ve been told that the community recovery being led by the YMCA Springfield Lakes Community Centre and Rosewood Community Centre has been second to none and I want to thank the volunteers, local businesses and staff for the generosity and willingness to do whatever it takes to help our community.
“However this is just the beginning. We still need to help hundreds of people find temporary and permanent accommodation and ensure they have the support they need to get back on their feet.”
Springfield Lakes resident Nimesh Modi shows Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Member for Jordan Charis Mullen hail damage to his home
Premier Palaszczuk said it is a very stressful time.
“This is a very strong community,” Premier Palaszczuk said.
“About 1000 people have been impacted and I thank everybody who has been involved in setting up the community recovery centre and to all the residents, we will continue to work with you to get through this.”
Mr Modi said he was touched to see Mayor Teresa Harding and Cr Kate Kunzelmann out in the streets offering assistance in the day after and following the storm.
“When we met the Premier today, the Mayor remembered my name,” Mr Modi said, after Mayor Harding had visited impacted residents across the city on Sunday.
“I thought, wow! She is genuine for her to remember our names.”
What’s available: YMCA Springfield Lakes Community Centre, 53 Springfield Lakes Boulevard
- Insurance organisations
- Department of Housing and Public Works
- Orange Sky
- Ipswich City Council staff are also on site to answer queries, including providing information on the upcoming kerbside collection and food waste bins being made available; as well as supplying tea, coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner, school lunches, phone and laptop charging services.