Tribute book brings much-needed funds

FAMILIES left with nothing, walls of sewerage throughout homes and people forced to sleep on mouldy beds are some of the devastating scenes charity workers have seen in ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie's wake.

As communities across Queensland and New South Wales continue to recover, those delivering vital goods and services to victims say the need for support has never been greater.

Now you can do your part to help - by securing a copy of our special souvenir publication, Defying Debbie.

Produced by the Whitsunday Times and News Regional Media, with the support of Suncorp, this 132-page gloss book follows Debbie's trail of destruction from Bowen to Lismore and features stories of defiance, hope and local heroes at a cost of $7.50.

Proceeds of sales will be going to the official recovery effort and will be donated to Australian charity GIVIT, which is delivering support to people in need in both states.

GIVIT founder and CEO Juliette Wright said the charity was working with frontline agencies, councils and government to help people impacted by the Category 4 storm and its aftermath.

"The damage has been devastating and some of those pockets affected were quite impoverished before it hit,” Mrs Wright said.

She said they had initially needed items such as toiletries, chainsaws and cleaning products as people removed glass, sewerage and water from their homes.

"Now that people are rebuilding their lives there is a lot of need for washing machines, beds and linens,” she said. "But some families have lost everything; there was a girl outside Mackay who had no shoes for winter.

"So simple things that you think people can afford, if you have been through a devastating cyclone and had floodwater through everything you do need to get extra support if you don't have a lot of money.”

Mrs Wright said they had seen residents in storm-ravaged communities enduring awful conditions. "We're helping people get their houses cleaned up and ready so we can provide them with the beds,” she said. "There are families in North Queensland who have been sleeping in mouldy beds - they are incredibly disgusting but that's all they've got.”

The charity has also been providing support to people in Northern NSW struck by severe flooding.

So far, more than 49,000 items have been purchased to help those affected via funds or donations received through www.givit.org.au.

Make sure you purchase your copy of Defying Debbie at the newsagents or by calling 1300 361 604 between 8am-5pm Monday to Friday. A $4 postage fee applies for phone orders.