Mail offices of national indigenous newspaper Koori destroyed by floods

The Koori CourierAustralia’s only printed First Nations newspaper, will miss one of its bi-monthly issues this month for the first time in 30 years of operation due to flood damage.

The newspaper is based in Lismore and on Monday the two-story office was destroyed by record flooding.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t completely broken and heartbroken,” GM Naomi Moran says PEDSTRIAN.TV.

“The amount of damage to the Koori Mail office building – we couldn’t have imagined it would be this bad.”

Moran said the evacuation advisory was issued on Sunday, it was based on lower levels of flooding Lismore had previously experienced.

“We had a plan, we knew where everything had to go on the first floor,” she said.

“When we got the second warning that it was going to…reach major flood levels…we climbed to the highest possible point on the first floor in the time we had. We had an hour.

After the floodwaters began to recede, staff and volunteers were able to enter the office Thursday morning.

The team managed to get all the computers and hard drives up to the top of the building where they were safe, but the furniture, documents, merchandise, archives and art collection were flooded.

“Everything was completely destroyed,” Moran said.

“The most heartbreaking thing to see is that all of our day one records that we kept as part of our legacy have all disappeared underwater.”

The newspaper is 100% owned by five First Nations communities in the northern region of New South Wales and staffed by First Nations people. It has a loyal following across the country, some of whom have read the paper since its debut in May 1991.

Moran said the damage was a significant loss to the newspaper’s readership and the wider First Nations community. The staff’s first priority was therefore to offer support to these people.

“The Koori Mail has a responsibility to look after ours. Our immediate approach to the devastation is: let’s take care of our community members first,” she said.

The newspaper has set up a GoFundMe page and released details of the wire transfer on Tuesday with a goal of $100,000 to help area First Nations families who had lost their homes or belongings.

He raised $110,000 in 48 hours.

Moran said there would be a remaining allowance for First Nations people who may not have lost their belongings but needed help with transportation or accessing health care or essential items then. that the region was largely isolated.

“There are few stocks of just about everything right now, from food, diapers, toiletries, hygiene productscts, this money will go to packaged relief for anyone in need.

The money would be divided among the five newspaper-owning collectives to help supply people in each region.

Moran predicted that it would take a week to clear the debris and clean up the site before reconstruction could be planned. But she assured that the newspaper would return thanks to the support of the community.

“For us to continue to be the voice of our people, we need people to hear our voices right now,” she said.

“What we have to share is that we’ve been hit hard and it’s devastating, but we will absolutely get over it.”

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Image: Twitter / @koorimailnews