A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM JELENKO DRAGISIC, RETIRED CEO
There's no denying that the last few years have been a difficult
time for so many Queenslanders. We have endured floods and
cyclones, droughts and bushfires, many of which have devastated
communities with tragic loss of life and destruction of property.
It was an exceptionally challenging time for too many of us.
Recovery continues today, there's no doubt about that.
To anyone who has been dealt a tough blow thanks to Mother
Nature I acknowledge that a website known as 'Hardenup.org' could
be misinterpreted. I believe what victims of the events of extreme
weather need to know is that Green Cross understands you didn't
suffer because you were weak. To the people of Grantham, the freak
event which devastated your town makes it hard to imagine that any
preparation would suffice. And to anyone who lost a family member
or friend, there's no intention to tell you to get over it, forget
about it, harden up.
Hardenup.org is a long term project which I support because it
is trying to communicate to people who, even today, choose to
believe they are immune to natural disasters. Many people think
they can leave it up to insurance and government bodies and
emergency organisations to come to their rescue, both literally and
financially. Or they believe there's nothing individuals can do
when faced with a natural disaster. But those people are wrong
because as I'm sure any victim of disaster would tell you, being
prepared can make a hell of a difference. Knowing how to get out,
having emergency supplies, being informed, really can be the
difference between life and death, between keeping precious
valuables or losing it all. As people who have direct experience of
this, I invite you to share your stories with other Queenslanders.
Harden Up has a section where you can share your tips to prepare
for severe weather. They have also teamed up with the ABC and
encourage you to tell your story. Through stories we can connect
with where we live, intimately know what has happened in the past
and realise it could happen again or get worse. We need to know
that we have the power to influence what happens to us, to some
extent. Being prepared is key.
To those who have lost what is most precious to them, Green
Cross isn't asking you to harden up. Please, I ask you to reach out
if you need help. Seek the support of others and take the time you
need to heal. The message to be more prepared goes to those who are
blinkered to the likelihood of savage events. As someone who has
suffered at the hand of Mother Nature, you know better than most
what can happen.
Jelenko is the retired CEO of Volunteering Qld and has been
involved in emergency management and resilience building work for