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Sikh Volunteers travel 34 hours to Lismore to provide free food to Flood-affected victims

 Sikh Volunteers travel 34 hours to Lismore to provide free food to Flood-affected victims

Recent Torrential rains caused the worst flood in ten years in Australia’s southeast coastal region, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate. The constant rain led to the submerging of town centres, washing away many homes and power cuts. Furthermore, as per the latest reports, at least 13 people have lost their lives due to extreme weather conditions.

Emergency crews received 2,200 requests for help overnight, but they could only carry out 300 flood rescues. Also, people stranded on rooftops were rescued by Military helicopters, and they also rescued motorists and animals stranded on a submerged bridge.

Amidst the chaos, not-for-profit organisation Sikh Volunteers Australia travelled to the flood-affected areas to provide food to the displaced Australians. They started their journey from their home base in Melbourne to Woolgoolga, which is a small New South Wales town in the south of Lismore. But it was not an easy drive; it took 34 hours to pass through several blocked bridges and flooded highways for them to reach their destination.

Their journey continued towards the north after observing that people needed help there; they reached their final destination after driving for a day and a half, despite encountering disrupted routes and blocked Pacific Highway.

Sikh Volunteers

Although they were to travel to Queensland, which would have taken much longer, as per the original plan, they had to change their strategy based on the community response. They decided to reach Lismore, as there was more need for service there.

The Co-founder and secretary of Sikh Volunteers Australia, Jaswinder Singh, said that they were on the road for five hours trying to figure out the best route to reach the location.

This is not the first instance when the Sikh Volunteers Australia(SVA) came to rescue of helpless people facing disasters. Back in 2019, when the bushfires started and lasted till March 2020 and burned more than 11,400 bushes and grasses across NSW, the not-for-profit organisation catered free food service to the affected people. From December 30 to January 14, the SVA continuously served three to four meals a day.

In January 2022, when Australia hit a seven-day average of 100,000 plus Covid-19 cases nationally, shops and food stores faced crises due to worker and supply chain issues. During that critical situation, members of SVA delivered food to Covid patients and others who did not have access to food.

Additionally, they held a fundraiser to collect funds for constructing a new kitchen that would help cook 10,000 meals a day. As a result, single parents, the elderly, international students, the unemployed and the homeless in seven council areas, including Kingston, Monash and Mornington, were able to get proper access to free food.

Amit Batra

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