From the Newsroom

Emergency services worked tirelessly during the flood to help people in need. Image: Contributed

Ashby couple acknowledge community support

Emma Pritchard

Having lived in the rural splendour of Ashby for more than 30 years, Bill and Wilhelmina Van Den Hoek have seen and experienced many floods.

But when the rain kept falling and the water kept rising during the torrential flooding which occurred throughout the region earlier this month, they knew they were witnessing an unprecedented event.

Parts of Ashby which had never been affected by previous floods disappeared beneath the murky brown water, residents quickly found themselves cut off, and the community rallied together to support one another.

Speaking with the Clarence Valley Independent last week, the Van Den Hoeks said they had never seen a flood like it before.

Ashby resident Bill Van Den Hoek said the amazing efforts of the volunteer “sandbag army” which helped to save communities during the recent flooding, should be acknowledged. Image: Contributed

They praised their community and emergency services for their prompt response to ensure inundated residents were catered for during the flood, and said they were proud to see people working together to assist one another.

Mr Van Den Hoek, who is also a volunteer with the SES, said some residents are still struggling as the floodwater continues to recede slowly.

“A lot of people did not know what to expect during the flood, and I think a lot of people were also complacent and didn’t expect the water to come up as high as it did,” he explained.

“I had never seen anything like it before.

Many Clarence Valley residents did not expect the water to rise as high or as fast as it did during the recent flood. Image: Contributed

“It was incredible to see the emergency services including the SES, Police, Rural Fire Service (RFS), NSW Ambulance and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) working together to try and help people and keep them safe.

“There were locals aged in their 80s who needed to go to hospital, and the SES did a great job helping them get into boats to transport them.

“It was a terrific community effort.”

Mr Van Den Hoek has been involved with the SES for as long as he has lived in the region and said it is important for the community to come together during unprecedented times.

“We all look out for one another, and that is exactly what we did this time,” he recalled.

“I joined the SES because I love helping people, and all of the SES personnel who travelled from other areas to help our community, they all did a great job and should be acknowledged.”

The Van Den Hoeks also assisted in the assortment, transportation and delivery of essential supplies including medications to Ashby residents in need.

“It’s all part of being a small community,” Mrs Van Den Hoek said.

“You always do what you can to help people.”