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Dampened spirits

 Flooding in St George. Photos by St George Uniting Church minister Rev Michael Brumpton

PARTS of Queensland have once again been hit by rising flood waters and it's taking its toll on many regional communities.

Roma, in the western Darling Downs area in South West Queensland, was one of the severely effected towns in the Maranoa region. Minister at Maranoa Uniting Church, Rev Linda Hamill, said this year's flooding has been much worse then previous year's and it is starting to dampen spirits.

"People are exhausted," she said.

"People aren't recovering before the next one comes; emotionally, spiritually and physically.

"Most people are just getting back into their houses after about 10 months only to have them flooded again.

"It will be 10 or 12 months before people have rebuilt houses that are safe and comfortable to live in."

Ms Hamill said that, at this stage, they do not require donations of goods because it is imperative they start to boost the
local economy.

For this reason they would prefer monetary donations.

"The Combined Christian Churches in Roma and three churches in Mitchell are working together this time to distribute funds across the whole region," said Ms Hamill.

"We are trying to give up to $3000 assistance to each family.

"Most people wouldn't have had flood insurance because this has never happened [in some places] before.

"They are not in what is considered a flood prone area.

It is a record-setting flood," she said.

Ms Hamill said that the regional council had endorsed the work of the churches as the official fundraiser for the community due to their reputation and what they have done in the past.

"We're working really closely as combined churches with the council to make sure that everybody is equitably helped,"
said Ms Hamill.

"They first turned to us to respond financially to be able to help people."

As many of the locals are still in shock and are frustrated and angry at the situation Ms Hamill asked the wider Uniting Church community to pray for them.

"They can't believe this has happened again.

Pray for unity within the communities, that's a big need.

People are tired and anxious and in shock.

We're struggling a bit," she said.

Roma mother and dedicated Blue Care nurse, Jane Sheahan, lost her life on 5 February whilst trying to transport sand bags to other residents during the floods.

Blue Care Executive Director Robyn Batten said the community and the organisation were deeply saddened by this loss.

Even when Ms Sheahan wasn't at work, she was helping the community.

"Jane was a delightful person with a deep love for her family and, as a community nurse, she was exceptionally dedicated
to improving the lives of those around her," she said.

Ms Batten said Blue Care will do everything possible to support the close-knit group of clients, staff and volunteers of Blue Care Roma Community Care as they come to terms with this tragedy.

"I extend my sincerest thanks and appreciation to the police, SES and other emergency services teams and Blue Care's
managers, staff and volunteers who assisted at this trying time," said Ms Batten.

Queensland Moderator, Rev Kaye Ronalds, said the wet season is certainly having an impact again in many parts of Queensland.

"I've been speaking with the ministry agents on the ground and it's clear that some families have been really devastated,
especially in Roma where it's the third time they have been flooded in the past 22 months.

"In Mitchell it's a new thing and many of the homes have been very badly damaged.

"Our ministry agents on the ground are doing a great job, along with the UnitingCare Community Disaster Recovery Response teams," she said.

Ms Ronalds encouraged people to be generous in assisting people in flood effected areas.

"Remember that it's probably easier to donate money then to donate second hand goods.

"This enables the local people to give appropriate support to those families in need," she said.

To assist in flood recovery in the Maranoa region contact Linda Hamill on linda@hamill.net.au

Photo : Flooding in St George. Photos by St George Uniting Church minister Rev Michael Brumpton