The 2022 East Coast floods impacted several cities in New South Wales (NSW), Queensland, and Victoria from February to March – and Lismore was among the hardest hit by the event. A month after the initial flood wave, the city experienced another severe weather event, worsening the impact of the February flood.
By April, five lives had been tragically lost, 2,000 people were left homeless, and more than 18,000 jobs were affected, Suncorp found.
Elly Bird, founder of the Resilient Lismore Project, has been working with community partners and volunteers to rebuild the city and uplift the residents' spirits.
Bird and her team applied for funding from the Foundation of Rural Regional Renewal (FRRR) to support their charity's projected efforts for 2023, including running a series of community events to mark the anniversary of the 2022 flood.
She and her team were among the recipients of the second round of grants given by FRRR, in partnership with Suncorp and GIO, receiving $25,000 in funding for the Resilient Lismore Project, alongside other charitable organisations that received a share of the $1 million funding pledged by Suncorp to support communities recovering from extreme weather events.
Reflecting on the 2022 East Coast floods, Bird said: “The trauma of the event can have a big impact on people in the community, regardless of where they are in their recovery journey. There [are] already so many events in the community around the anniversary itself, so our team is primarily focusing on putting on events on the fringes of that anniversary date so that people's opportunities to connect with one another go beyond one day.
“Whether it's through cutting through misinformation or simply giving children and parents some respite, we hope to just provide some opportunity for our residents to support one another and rebuild our social fabric.”
The Lismore City Council has announced that the city will hold a series of events to allow the residents to reflect on the devastating flood that changed their city, reconnect, heal, and enjoy some entertainment to mark the city's beginning as it continues to rebuild.
The events will be held from February 28 to March 19, with a free bus shuttle service provided for some events.
“There is no doubt that this has been the toughest year for many of us, which is why on the first anniversary of February 28, it is important to come together as a community and reflect on what happened on that horrible morning and on how far we have all come since,” Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg said.