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Broome locals answer the call to support flood-ravaged communities

Giovanni Torre -

Broome local Emily Hunter has been stunned by the "huge response" to her drive for donations to help communities hit hard by the Kimberley floods.

"I thought the community could do with some help, after losing everything, so I started to collect stuff… I organised a donation drop off and we ended up with 40 pallets of stuff," she told National Indigenous Times.

"I had been thinking 'how can I contribute, what can I do to support families?'… We did a collection drive last week and the response was huge so we did another one this weekend just gone.

"40 pallets, clothes for men, women, children and babies, then we did a drop off point at Boulevard shopping centre and people donated toiletries and sanitary products for women and babies, people would go into the shops and come straight out and make donations."

Some of the donated goods.

Ms Hunter worked with her cousin Janenell Kennedy and friend Sara Keefe to collect the much-needed items.

"I didn't plan on it being this big, we all work full time, I am a Clinical Nurse Manager at Broome hospital," she said.

"I spoke with Harold Tracey from H&M Tracey, put it on Facebook… We collected for people in Derby too, for people who were airlifted to Derby and have nothing.

"One of the ladies from Bunuba Dawangarri Aboriginal Corporation assisted in donations last week.

"Broome Aboriginal short stay accommodation had a shortage of clothing for the people there so we dropped 10 boxes off, enough clothing for everyone."

Ms Hunter has long volunteered in the community, working in youth sport and other areas.

"My motto is it takes a village to raise a child," she said.

"I organised it and kicked it off but if not for the volunteers and the response of the Broome community it would not have happened."

Caring for community runs in the family. Ms Hunter's father, Dr Arnold "Puggy" Hunter, has a long association with Aboriginal health and a scholarship in his name has been operating for 20 years. Ms Kennedy's mother, Glenys Sibisado, was an active advocate, involved in ATSIC, and received the Order of Australia for her community work.

The flooding caused by ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie caused widespread major flooding in the Kimberley, driving hundreds of people from their homes in the Fitzroy Valley, destroying vital infrastructure including roads and bridges, and causing shortages of essential supplies such as food.


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