Australia experiences flooding after Cyclone Oswald
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Bundaberg, Australia
Tropical Cyclone Oswald caused flooding in Australia that killed three people and caused thousands to evacuate from their homes.

The storm struck the Queensland Coast on January 21. Now, more than a week later, Queensland and New South Wales coastal areas are still experiencing floods caused by record rainfall and strong winds.

An estimated 30 to 40 centimeters (11 to 15 inches) of rain has fallen in the area since Thursday, January 24. The Burnett River, which is approximately 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of one of the most affected cities, Bundaberg, could rise to 10 meters (38 feet). River rescue operations have been hampered by the river's speed, up to 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour).

As of January 29, three people were killed and thousands were evacuated from their homes and rescued from rooftops. Rescuers are using megaphones to communicate with residents because of power loss, and the Australian Defence Force is evacuating stranded residents via Black Hawk helicopters.

Bundaberg Church of the Nazarene Pastor George Steele reported there is little or no damage to his church, though some water came in through the roof and front door due to high winds. A few people attended Sunday morning's worship service, and the evening service was cancelled.

Steele said at least seven tornadoes wreaked havoc along a 80 to 90 kilometer (50 to 56 mile) span of the region.

Some of the Bundaberg congregation helped family or friends transport their refridgerators to power sources to preserve their food supplies.

Australia/New Zealand Field Strategy Coordinator John Moore and his wife, Vicki, were impacted at their residence near the Gold Coast. The couple experienced outages for several days and recently acquired a generator to recharge their mobile phones and connect with district pastors and churches affected by the severe weather conditions. 

"John has been in contact with our congregation in Maryborough, and we will provide an update as soon as we are able to reconnect with him and/or our people there," said David Harris, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Asia-Pacific coordinator. "It is possible that we may be able to send a number of Crisis Care Kits to evacuees, specifically [in] Bundaberg, in the coming week."

To learn how to contribute Crisis Care Kits, visit
--Church of the Nazarene Asia-Pacific Region
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