Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

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May 26th
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Tzu Chi Prepares Relief for Flood-Hit Queensland

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The Foundation is preparing to deliver relief to those hit by devastating floods in the northeast Australian state of Queensland. It has set up co-ordination centers in Hualien and at the Australian branch, which communicate via video conferencing. It has started to distribute hot meals and is planning relief goods and a long-term relief program.

Since December, torrential rain has caused floods in a large area of Queensland, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people from towns and cities. Three quarters of the state – an area larger than Texas and California combined – has been declared a disaster area. At least 70 towns and over 200,000 people have been affected; at least 30 people have been killed and more than 70 are missing. The economic damage runs into billions of dollars.

Volunteers have already provided hot meals to the survivors and plan to distribute cash cards and blankets. They have started to assess the needs for relief in Brisbane, capital of Queensland and Australia’s third largest city: large areas of the city are under water.

“If we find the need, we will notify Taiwan,” said Ya Ying Chen, chief executive of the foundation’s Australia branch. “We will also report to Taiwan the use of donations.” Headquarters in Hualien has taken an inventory of the relief goods in stock, in case they need to be sent to Australia.

Master Cheng Yen is currently touring Taiwan to take part in year-end blessing ceremonies. She is very concerned about the floods in Australia and  staying in touch by telephone with the volunteers there.

Allen Yeh, of the foundation’s Religious Culture and Humanitarian Department, said that Master Cheng Yen was very grateful for all the contributions by the volunteers and the responsibilities they had taken on. “She has said that, according to the information from the media, the disaster may get worse. Therefore, she asks everyone to be on high alert and be very attentive to their safety. We should not rush but be fast and accurate, she says.”

Australia Flood Relief