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Coffee and cakes baked with love, as Armidale community recovers after tornado

By Kemii Maguire, Saturday October 16, 2021 - 23:56 AEDT
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Free scones, jam drops and coffee were on offer for residents and work crews cleaning after the tornado. - ABC

Northern Tableland locals have filled the hearts and bellies of work crews and residents affected by a tornado that swept through Armidale.

Thursday evening's tornado was one of several weather fronts that travelled across the state, bringing with themsevere winds, rain and hail.

The area went more than 24 hours without electricity or treated water before power was returned to the community at about 10.30pm on Friday.

SES crews have attended more than two hundred jobs across Armidale since the tornado hit.

Superintendent Mitch Parker said they have more than 184 jobs waiting, as crews continue clean-up efforts.

Resident Matt Lynch said he had not seen anything like it.

"When someone mentions a tornado, you think of America and tornado alley," Mr Lynch said.

"How on earth does this happen in Australia?"

"But anyway, it's happened. We'll deal with it;we'll learn from it. If we get another one, we'll do the same again."

Mr Lynch, anex-police officer, was one of many volunteers helping toclean up, working at properties that were left with exposed walls and roofing.

"People have gone through a traumatic event. But what shines through is the community spirit, and we can see that here with how many people have come out to help."

Vans, tractors, and fire trucks linedthe streets, joined by community volunteers providing food and drink.

Hundreds of locals provide coffee, cakes and physical labour

Local businesses came together Saturday morning to donatefunds and hire a mobile coffee van for the weekend.

Guyra barista Chris York was touched bythe gesture.

"I've been absolutely flat out. I think all the lads and lasses have been working off their chops, and definitely need caffeine," he said.

"There's been no power across town until this [Saturday] morning, and I have a generator which made it handy. But I've never seen this many volunteers come out of nowhere."

"I've made 42 coffeesin an hour."

Armidale locals Margaret Schaufer and Linda Lynchbaked several trays of scones and jam drops after witnessing the extent of the damage caused by the tornado.

"I've even seen some supermarkets in town give $100 vouchers to the people because all their food has gone off whilst the power has been out," Mr Schaufer said.

"I've spent the day walking up the streets, grabbing workers telling, them to come and get something to eat.

"I think the emotions have set in today."

Back Tracks, a group of volunteers that works with troubled youths, also helped efforts by providing physical labour.

"They've been helping a 90-year-old lady who had someone else's roof land on hers, whilst she was in bed," Ms Schaufer said.

"It's just an absolute mess here."


© ABC 2021

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