1 March 2024

Appliances make Wujal Wujal homecoming a bit easier

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Truck full of broken appliances

Broken appliances washed away by floodwater are driven out of the devastated Wujal Wujal community. Photo: Facebook (Wujal Wujal TC Jasper Recovery).

Since losing everything in the post-Tropical Cyclone Jasper devastation, many Wujal Wujal residents have been going without basic household items and those who were displaced have been living out of hotels.

Wanting to help make their spaces feel like home again, whether in Wujal Wujal or a temporary house in Cairns, Cape York Partnerships (CYP) has been working with GIVIT to provide residents with household appliances and furniture.

Audrey Deemal, who leads the human and social recovery support case management team at CYP, said the purpose of the collaboration was to provide a sense of normalcy, so residents could begin the healing process.

“A lot of these families have lost everything that they own and have worked hard for,” Ms Deemal said.

“It’s very important for their own social and emotional wellbeing to get these people back into homes and back into a normal life.

“It’s such a devastating event that it’s hard to come back from, and I can only imagine how it feels.”

Ms Deemal said residents would either be provided with the items or a voucher to purchase them.

“Through GIVIT and other services like the Salvation Army, we are helping families purchase their own household items with vouchers that they get, or we shop with the clients,” she said.

“It covers all the basics like beds, mattresses, appliances, lounge and dining, and also a kitchen starter, just to get people back into homes and able to do things for themselves.”

Resident receiving appliance

Affected Wujal Wujal residents have been able to receive furniture and appliances to rebuild their home life through the partnership. Photo: GIVIT.

Although the project got off to a slow start, things have started to pick up, and some residents have already been able to fill their homes with the donated goods.

“We had to apply and be assessed to be able to order online ourselves, but there’s a process we had to wait for,” Ms Deemal said.

“Once that came through, we started to do the orders, but because the team looking after the ordering process was doing a lot of other stuff with CYP, too, there was a lag for things to be done.

GIVIT allowed the team to add more users to the process, which is when Ms Deemal joined to help with the ordering.

“I’m sure these families are so devastated that they just want things done and done quickly, and we were just not working fast enough,” she said.

“There was also a holdup due to lack of stock, but we’ve now been told there is stock available, and things have started to move quickly these last couple of days.”

Ms Deemal said she and the team were proud of what they were doing for their community.

“I think every one of us in our team here at CYP has some kind of connection to the Yalanji-Wujal community,” she said.

“I haven’t been able to catch up with everybody yet, but I’ve called different ones to find out how they’re doing.

“One of my aunties, she said she was really happy and she loves her new place, and lots of other people have said they’re very proud and appreciative of what they got as well.”

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