Phew. Compared with the enormity of what Queenslanders are facing right now, organising a few gumboots isn’t much. But I’m glad it’s done. And it seems to have united the Kiwi and Oz spirit.
On Sunday, 1200 (pairs of) gumboots provided by our very own NZ company; The Warehouse, will fly out of Auckland headed towards the flood recovery in Queensland. Big ups to The Warehouse. I know it was a team effort, but Rachel Walker and I seem to have become friends as a result.
Why gumboots? There is a chronic shortage of gumboots in Australia. It’s not the season for them. And to be honest, I’m not sure that gumboots are really the essential item that they are in NZ.
Throughout flood-swept Qld people are being told by Mayors, by Premier Anna Bligh and by the Prime Minister Julia Gillard, to be careful of their footwear. Not to wear thongs (jandals). Once the clean up begins gumboots will be essential, for adults and kids.
The gumboots will go to Toowoomba, where Operation Angel, an organisation based in Melbourne, is directing its efforts.
On Tuesday night I got a text from my sister Judith who said our mutual friend Jacqueline Pascarl had been in touch to say she was reinvigorating Operation Angel to coordinate a recovery operation in Toowomba, Queensland. She said among the most essential items were gumboots and mosquito nets, coils and repellent. And would I help?
Jack’s a tenatious person and is good in a crisis. She’s a Patron of Care International, and a bunch of other things, and she’s had a lot happen in her life. So I sent an email to Stephen Tindall of The Warehouse late Tuesday night and by close of business Wednesday they’d found 1200 pairs of gumboots.
It took a bit longer to organise how to get the gumboots to Oz. I won’t say too much about that, but after I emailed CEO Allan Joyce this morning, by this afternoon Qantas had got back to me saying they’d be pleased to transport the gumboots to Oz.
I understand the gumboots will be flown to Melbourne via Auckland on Sunday and then transported free by truck to Qld, courtesy of Toll Group in Oz.
The generosity of NZ and Oz companies is fantastic and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed.
John Clarke (aka Fred Dagg) would be proud.
A bit of info about:
Operation Angel is a not for profit, secular, humanitarian organisation founded in 1997 by Jacqueline Pascarl to assist the women and children of the war-torn Balkan states. Reinvigorated during the 2009 Victorian Bushfire Crisis, it has since evolved into a rapid response, community and volunteer support organisation, priding itself on being lateral thinking and responsive – filling niches that are often overlooked in the time of emergency and disaster.
Jacqueline is a friend and a very special person.
PS: Mosquito nets, coils and repellent are still needed. And probably more gumboots. Can you help?