Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, March 31, 2017 -- Queensland communities impacted by ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie and the significant rainfall are reminded they can contact Queensland Government call centres 24/7 for help.
Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch today (Friday) visited the Mount Gravatt call centre, where she witnessed staff in action providing assistance to Queenslanders affected by the destructive cyclone and subsequent heavy rain.
Ms Enoch, who is responsible for Queensland Government call centre operations, said staff from Smart Services Queensland (SSQ) had already received more than 8100 [as at 4pm 30/3] calls for SES and Community Recovery assistance since the cyclone made landfall on Tuesday.
More than a thousand of the calls have been to a special Community Recovery Hotline, activated in the wake of Cyclone Debbie.
"The impact of this torrential rain in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie has been widespread and those people needing help can rest assured that our teams are ready to take their calls," Ms Enoch said.
"We understand that immediately following a disaster, people want to focus on the clean-up of their homes and businesses.
"The Community Recovery Hotline has been activated to ensure people impacted by the disaster can apply for grants, and receive referrals to community organisations and other government agencies," she said.
Ms Enoch said the Community Recovery and SES hotlines are open 24 hours, seven days a week, with more than 400 team members at Mt Gravatt and Zillmere sites answering phones to provide much-needed assistance.
"The Queensland Government call centres are staffed by highly experienced team members who are an integral part of the State’s disaster management response, and I encourage anyone who has been affected by the cyclone and the subsequent severe weather to call the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349," she said.
"As telecommunication services are restored in the area, we expect calls for assistance to increase.
"It is all hands on deck to ensure all necessary help is given. Please be patient – we will get to your call," she said.
Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman said financial assistance was available to help north Queenslanders recover from ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
"We are committed to ensuring north Queenslanders affected by Tropical Cyclone Debbie get the support they need to get back on their feet," Ms Fentiman said.
"Financial assistance is now available for communities in the Whitsunday and Mackay local government areas.
"This includes Immediate Hardship Assistance Grants for people who are unable to meet their immediate essential needs for temporary accommodation, food, essential clothing and medication.
"Once the full extent of damage is known, hubs and outreach teams will be set up on the ground as soon as possible," she said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Monday, April 3, 2017
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