Jewish Queenslanders are among the thousands of people affected by the recent disastrous floods in the Sunshine State of Australia.
The flooding has severely impacted central Queensland and the state’s southern inland regions, with thousands of properties being affected in Emerald, Bundaberg, Rockhampton and other towns.
Rabbi Moshe Loebenstein of Chabad of Rural and Regional Australia (RARA) said Jewish families caught in the floods had been affected in different ways.
There are around 80 Jewish families known to Chabad of RARA in the affected area.
“There are some that are just waiting for the water to go down so they can see their property again,” he said. “[But] there are others that have moved in with family and friends further south and they don’t even know, they have no idea what’s going to be once the water resides.”
He was glad to report that that there were no Jewish casualties. “Thank God everyone that we know, that we’ve made contact with, is alive and safe,” he said.
Rabbi Loebenstein has been busy networking with families known to Chabad of RARA that live nearby who aren’t affected, asking for their support.
“Many of them have volunteered to take people in, to provide dry clothing and food for the next couple of weeks,” he said.
He has also been providing religious items to families that may have lost them.
“I’ve got mezuzot and so on lined up here ready to post out if need be,” he said. “Once we know they’re safe and well my concern is to make sure that their religious needs are taken care of, especially at a time like this.”
Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies President Jason Steinberg thanked Chabad of RARA for their efforts, adding “All the assistance that Australian Jewry can give to those affected by the floods, both Jewish and non-Jewish, will be accepted with appreciation.”
Nine people have died in the floods, while damage to property and infrastructure have added to the economic cost, which is already running into the billions of dollars after crop losses and mining disruptions.