Dr Seuss – the quiet genius.

Caring is pretty important in the midst of this whole flooding disaster we are contending with. There has certainly been a lot of media attention around it and we know Council is working hard to come out with temporary options as well as permanent solutions but there are still far too many people feeling like they have not been acknowledged as suffering a new kind of stress and this is unhealthy and unhelpful.

Jo Byrne, wonderful leader of Flockton Cluster asked Prime Minister John Key where the coordination was with regard to flooding and got what I thought was a pretty rubbish response – CCC is lead agency and the government will offer support when the Council has told them what they need. This isn’t coordination; this is silos. It’s great they are offering to help. It’s just stupid to imply they are passively waiting rather than working with CCC from the beginning.

So let’s unpack the concept of much needed coordination a little further. Coordination of flood issues from a resident’s perspective looks a little like the following:

  • Lead agency identified – great, we have that.
  • All other agency involvement identified and lines of responsibility and communication are established and communicated to affected people – currently missing.
  • The spectrum of issues as they relate to the flood affected people are identified – immediate, short-term, long-term, communication needs, pastoral needs and financial needs – people will fall through the gaps without this.
  • Need will be met with resource – this is a whole community response and there are many groups that can offer an amazing array of support options to help and care for people if we dig below the longer term engineering solutions.

John Campbell was right when he asked what CERA was doing in this flood space? The CER Act states they are here to coordinate the recovery. Coordinate does not mean lead or control or encourage; it means making sure all the information is gathered, all the players are identified and connected when they need to be, all the people who have something to contribute have a pathway to contribute. It means being able to communicate the overall plan. It means the affected residents believe someone has the big picture and is making sure their very real concerns are being considered. Perhaps CERA could be a little more forthcoming about how they are coordinating the broader aspects of this flood problem.

Part of my frustration comes from another experience of chasing agencies and organisations around to see what is being planned to get face to face with affected people across the city. We know that face to face that says, ‘we know you are here and we care enough to come and let you tell us your story’ is important for those feeling vulnerable and confused (and a whole raft of other emotions). We also know that asking people how they feel is not enough; we need to be able to leave them with something and in this situation that something should be good clear communication about what is happening, who is doing what and advice about where they can get some good support if needed.

This is where coordination is so important because we at CanCERN or any one group in the community does not have that information to give so we cannot just go and knock on doors even though we do care. So we will call a meeting with the agencies and advocate for this level of coordinated planning and action to happen. We hope they will see the importance and help the community to help those who may be really struggling.