One year after four of our team responded to the urgent needs of farmers during the devastating Murwillumbah floods, we’ve reconnected with farmers and the farming community to hear their news and remind them that, even though the floodwaters subsided long ago, they’re not alone.
Almost 100 farmers and supporting organisations from Murwillumbah came along to our community BBQ on 14 March 2023, which was the first time many had stopped and reflected on how the unprecedented floods impacted their lives over the last 12-months.
Every Murwillumbah farmer we spoke with is still recovering from the floods and the biggest challenge they’ve faced is the physical recovery and amount of work required to restore their farms.
It’s had a huge impact and taken a massive toll on many farmers—and their families. Almost 70% of farmers said the floods had had a moderate or significant impact on their mental and emotional health over the last 12-months.
Despite the extreme challenges they’ve faced, it was heartening to hear that Murwillumbah farmers reported feeling supported, which is a reflection on their families and the broader community. Almost two-thirds of farmers we spoke with said the most pleasant surprise during the last 12-months in their flood recovery was the help they received from unexpected places—including Aussie Helpers.
In early 2022, Aussie Helpers visited 48 farmers in the region over five days and provided essential financial support, practical necessities like food and hygiene hampers, animal food and hay, and critical emotional wellbeing support. We paid $380,000 in supplier invoices for farmers from our $5K Aussie Helpers Fund, delivered $15,000 worth of hay, which continues today, and $33,000 in fuel vouchers, visa cards, and hampers and pet food.
We want to again thank all of the BBQ’s local sponsors, who were so generous and supportive in helping us bring the BBQ to life for the community. As a not-for-profit, we are entirely funded through donations and sponsorships and rely on our generous network of volunteers and our small but mighty team to support 1,000s of farmers every year.
We continue to be committed to supporting farmers in Murwillumbah—and across Australia—recover from the devastating impact of natural disasters and survive the tough times so they can thrive in the good times.