THE work of Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) crews begins the moment they walk through the front gate.
Not only do they bring the muscle and manpower to help in the region's exhaustive flood clean-up, these ex-military and former frontline emergency workers come with a lifetime of experience in dealing with and overcoming trauma.
Now they are asking for your help.
The crews that began their effort in the Camden Haven after floods wiped out communities at North Haven and Dunbogan, are now in the hills lending a helping hand at Pappinbarra.
The flood recovery effort is far from over, but DRA funding is depleted.
The Pappinbarra community is rallying around the disaster relief organisation in an attempt to raise funds so their work can continue for at least another month.
Riverbanks at Pappinbarra have been ravaged and fencing destroyed, while uncertainty about the future is a reality for farming families who are still recovering from two bushfires and years of drought.
Rebuild Pappinbarra has a Facebook fundraising page running and is asking for the broader community's support to help keep DRA and the flood clean-up going.
Rebuild Pappinbarra spokesperson Heather Smith said their community remains in desperate need of assistance.
DRA has already delivered $270,000 worth of flood clean-up work across the region over the last five weeks. They were hoping to stay in Pappinbarra for another month.
"Disaster Relief has been a godsend out here," Mrs Smith said.
"We keep getting hit by natural disasters out here and we need help. We asked for support, been promised it and not a lot has come our way.
"Disaster Relief has come up here and asked what we needed and they do it."
Mrs Smith said 26 property owners have been supported thanks to DRA, particularly with the removal of debris from riverbanks and damaged fencing.
"Everyone who lives up river got hit by this flood before Port Macquarie and the Camden Haven and it feels like we've been the last to get help.
"We understand there are only so many volunteers, and so many people have been impacted, and people had to go where those priorities were.
"We had zip lines going across the river just to get supplies to people who were trapped in their homes for up to 10 days.
"We had to do all of that ourselves. We are very lucky we have a great Rural Fire Brigade up here. They ran sirens up and down the road to alert people and get their attention to when there was food and fuel supplies available. Our community did all of that.
"It's not over up here. It's far from over. We're still recovering from bushfires - and now we've got this."
DRA is funded by corporate supporters, namely Mindaroo Foundation, and Clubs NSW.
Chris Perrin, DRA's deputy director of capability, is helping to lead the charge at Pappinbarra.
"When we go out to these things we get a good overview of how people across the country are going - and it's not good," Mr Perrin said.
"We've had drought, fires, COVID and floods. There's been four one in 100 year disaster events in the last 12 months alone. It's really testing the resilience of the community.
"Rural people are used to doing it tough, but this is really significant pressure they are under."
Mr Perrin said DRA has put a submission for financial support to Resilience NSW through council.
They have advised farming families through Pappinbarra's community meetings of the situation and have attempted to rally the already stretched resources of other support groups like BlazeAid.
"Recovery takes years. Even if we were here for another five months we will not able to fix many people's problems," Mr Perrin said.
Eighty-five per cent of DRA's crews are veterans or serving in the military while another 10 per cent is made up of first responders.
The teams are highly skilled, strong and fit physically, but they also offer a crucial link to understanding the mental health stress resulting from trauma.
"A lot of the work we do starts at front gate. People download and get stuff off their chest," Mr Perrin said.
"There is also a significant mental health benefit for our teams on the ground. We've had people in war zones and firefighting and they can have that empathy with people who have lost everything.
"It's good for our people too. For many in the military when they get out, they lose a sense of purpose and identity.
"We've had many people in dark places and DRA has helped turn their lives around and give them a sense of purpose again."
Anyone wanting to be a part of Disaster Relief Australia can visit their website at www.disasterreliefaus.org
Meanwhile, Local Land Services and Soil Conservation Services are visiting Hollisdale Hall on Wednesday, May 19 at 3.30pm, to share information about how they can support, restore and replenish flood-damaged river banks.
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