Call for donations to help Yam Island evacuees

Northern Australia shipping company Sea Swift is calling on local Cairns residents to help fill a container it will ship for free to Torres Strait Islands residents devastated this week by king tides in the region.

Sea Swift is asking for clothing and white goods donations to be delivered to its Tingira Street office by next Thursday (8 February), which will then be placed into a container to be sent up to Yam Island for delivery on 16 February.

The company decided to act after residents on Yam Island were forced to evacuate their homes, as king tides inundated low-lying sections of the island.

Fridges, washing machines, TVs, lounges, mattresses, and clothing have been destroyed, with most residents staying with relatives in the village until they can find alternative housing.

Torres Strait Island resident Flora Majid approached Sea Swift with the donation idea after hearing of the plight of her relatives on Yam Island.

“I’ve got a cousin on Yam Island whose family has lost everything - basically, 20 years of their lives have been swept away with these tides,” Ms Majid said.

“It prompted me to contact Sea Swift and I can’t thank them enough for their support.

“When I told my cousin about the container which will be coming, she cried on the phone, and then when she told her mum, she cried as well – it will be a huge blessing.

“They have no clothing, no power and have lost their normal living, so any donations people can make would mean so much.”

Sea Swift Chief Executive Officer Fred White said Sea Swift had always understood the importance of supporting local communities, and wanted to help Yam Island residents during this difficult time.

“We operate across the Torres Strait and are aware of the difficulties faced by residents when king tide events such as this cause such a massive impact on the local community,” Mr White said.

“We obviously heard about some of the traumatic issues Yam Island residents were facing, and we were keen to help out by providing a container and shipping free of charge.

“The loaded container will arrive on Yam Island on 16 February, and we hope it can help those in need during their recovery efforts.

“I urge Cairns residents to donate what they can, so we can offer some kind of peace of mind to those doing it tough.”

Sea Swift operates throughout the region’s remote coastal and island communities, with depots in Cairns, Weipa, Seisia, Horn Island, and Thursday Island in Queensland, and Darwin, Gove and Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory.

The company has more than 30 years of experience providing essential services and project freight across the region with more than 400 staff and 30 vessels, and makes a significant contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the region.

For the latest on donations, please visit Sea Swift’s Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of Flora Majid

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