Thursday, January 6, 2011

Camporee coping with flooding rains

Heavy rain yesterday afternoon and this morning (Thursday) has drenched the Australian Pathfinder Camporee in Toowoomba. Camporee directors cancelled the regular program for Thursday and instituted the event’s Critical Incident Management plan to support and care for the 2900 young people and staff at the Toowoomba Showgrounds. However, at this stage, the event is continuing and most Pathfinders continue to demonstrate good spirits.

About 100 millimetres of rain fell on the camporee site in a 24-hour period, causing flash flooding, damaging camp sites and turning the grounds into mud. However, emergency management staff at the Toowoomba Regional Council advised camporee organisers that the best course of action is for clubs to remain on site, provided they are coping with the conditions.

While a small number of clubs have chosen to leave the camporee, as many as 20 clubs have relocated from their muddy camp sites to undercover pavilions. Organisers also worked with the local council and Lifeline to provide hundreds of dry blankets for Pathfinders who have run out of dry clothes or bedding. The campsite directors and the camporee’s medical staff have been working to ensure the safety, health and warmth of the worst affected clubs.

With the planned activities cancelled, most camporee participants spent Thursday morning in the main pavilion, joining in with singing, games and storytelling.

The rain has ceased this afternoon, with glimpses of sunshine, and camporee directors expect to continue the planned program with tonight’s evening program of music and drama.