Australia news live: Albanese’s China dialogue comments ‘sneaky’, Coalition says; ING apologises over Christmas payment glitch

Australian Red Cross has busiest year on record in NSW

AAP is reporting that the Australian Red Cross has had its busiest year on record in New South Wales after multiple flood disasters.

The humanitarian aid and community services charity said its emergency services teams were activated for 262 days in 2022.

It supported 171 NSW evacuation centres and recovery hubs and provided mental health first aid to 29,000 people.

The Red Cross NSW director, Kate Miranda, said staff and volunteers across the state had been supporting people impacted by floods since February.

“Since the start of the Northern Rivers floods on 27th February to when the Moulamein Recovery Assistance Point closed on 20th December, we had just 36 days we were not responding to a disaster,” Miranda said on Friday.

Red Cross emergency services staff and volunteers have supported people in the Northern Rivers, Murray Riverina, Central West, Far West, Central Coast, Hunter, Hawkesbury and Sydney.

In 2022, 25 emergency services staff coordinated with 373 volunteers in the evacuation centres and recovery hubs, providing more than 8,000 voluntary hours of service.

“Our volunteers are continuing to provide outreach support services in Eugowra and the Northern Rivers,” Miranda said in a statement.

The flood events of 2022 came on top of two years of Covid-19 and the 2019/20 summer bushfires.

“Thousands of people have experienced three years of compounding disasters. It’s taking a toll on people’s mental health,” Miranda said.

The NSW emergency services team has 36 paid staff and more than 1,200 volunteers trained in emergency response and psychological first aid.