The St Vincent de Paul society, better known in the UK for their relief work with the urban poor, homeless and elderly, has been busy in Australia providing emergency aid to families in flood-stricken northern and central New South Wales, the Australian Catholic Weekly reported this week. A spokesman said the demand for help from the SVP was reaching the same levels as those experienced during droughts in the early 1990s. Farming families are facing their third year with little or no income from crops. At Narrabri, SVP president Col Hanley said the Society is distributing food to cotton chippers who came to the town expecting to start work a fortnight ago. Col Hanley said: "In the longer term we'll have farmers calling on us for food." The Catholic Weekly reported that an SVP centre in Gunnedah was forced to close after flood waters reached the front of the shop. Diocesan centre president Jack Boland said the damage had been minimal.
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