The streets of Roma turn into canals as water creeps in.
The streets of Roma turn into canals as water creeps in. Wendy Glasgow

Priest offers help to victims

AS the flood ravaged south-west and Queensland begins the gruelling task of cleaning up and rebuilding, Warwick local and Catholic Minister Father Jamie Collins is more than happy to lend a helping hand.

With a total of some 680 homes in Roma and Mitchell in need of repair Fr Collins said the aftermath is the worst he's seen.

"There's a lot of devastation. A lot of homes that were inundated this time weren't affected last time or the time before," he said.

"The devastation and destruction of these record water levels is shown by the shear amount of everything on the footpaths."

Fr Collins said that despite all of the devastation people are helping each other out as best they can.

"The people of Roma have had a lot of practice with floods in the past but the death of the lady swept away is a new tragedy that no one has had to deal with before. It is very sad."

"However Mitchell hasn't had a flood on this scale before because it doesn't flood as often as other towns in the area."

Both the Mitchell school and the church were inundated.

Having spent six years in St George prior to Roma, Fr Collins also holds concerns for his previous parishioners.

"There are a lot of anxious people over there," he said.

"Everyone is pulling together but I think the height of the water (in St George) has surprised everyone because they didn't think it would exceed last year's flood but it has."

As Chair of Combined Churches, Fr Collins met with other council members yesterday to plan help for the recovery efforts. There will be fundraising and many of the same initiatives from previous floods but Fr Collins was hopeful new ideas would also arise.

"We will also be heading to St George to give assistance as soon as we can," said Fr Collins.

"I think the more people can pull together and draw upon each other to find strength to move forward the easier it will be to find faith to carry on."

 

Flood facts

St George: flood water was predicted to peak at 15m but was revised down to just over 14m

Roma: over 400 homes damaged

Mitchell: around 280 homes damaged


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