Caretakers tackle laborious clean-up tasks after third flood in seven years.

With extreme weather conditions causing flash flooding across New South Wales, Australia,  Crosslands Youth and Convention Centre — located next to the Hawkesbury River in Sydney’s north — was submerged in 4 feet (1.2 meters) of water on Sunday, February 9, 2020.

Now caretakers Bruce and Maxine Hill face an overwhelming clean-up task.

“By Monday morning, the water was all gone again, but there are about 100 millimeters of mud right across the whole site and in the low-lying cabins. It’s just devastating,” Bruce Hill said.

  • View from the home of Adventist campground caretakers Bruce and Maxine Hill, overlooking the Hawkesbury River in New South Wales, Australia. [Credit: Crosslands Youth and Convention Centre Facebook account]

  • View from the eastern side of the Crosslands Youth and Convention Centre, the Seventh-day Adventist campground near Sydney, Australia, which suffered flooding on February 9, 2020. [Photo: Crosslands Youth and Convention Centre Facebook account]

  • View inside a flooded hut near the canoe shed at Crosslands Youth and Convention Centre, an Adventist church campground near Sydney, Australia. [Photo: Crosslands Youth and Convention Centre Facebook account]

The entire campground was submerged. It is the third and worst flood to affect the site in the past seven years.

“I went for a walk around the grounds to see the mess and just about cried,” Bruce said. “The hardest part is actually the swimming pool; there’s fish in there. It looks like thick, brown sewerage.”

As well as mud, the deluge left a knee-deep layer of leaf litter across the site, and a large tree fell down, destroying some of the tennis court fencing and power lines.

“We’ve got no power, and we’ve also got no water,” Bruce said. “The problem is, we can’t clean anything without clean water.

“We thought the fallen tree had ripped a pipe out of the ground, but it’s not that. Now we’re … cutting the road up to find out,” he added.

As well as the momentous task of pulling up the road, the camp caretakers face the prospect of clearing leaf litter on the oval.

“Last time it flooded, we put the leaf litter across the garden, which helped it grow, but this time we want to spread it evenly across the oval and sow some seeds to help the grass grow. It’s a blessing really, but we need someone with a tractor with a tine [or tiller] to spread the stuff across the oval,” said Bruce. “That would really help us.

“I’ve had [a group] offer to help but then lost contact with them. I was just going to get them to drive around the whole site and clear logs, debris, and garbage.”

Due to the widespread damage, two groups had to be evacuated. Crosslands management has also been forced to cancel the visit of a group booked for the week after the flood.

Despite the situation, Bruce and Maxine thanked the people who contacted them.

“We’ve had a lot of messages of support, but I didn’t get them until this morning [Tuesday, February 11] because my phone got wrecked when I was wading through the water. There are lots of people saying they’re praying for us, and we really appreciate that.”

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.


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