Queensland flood victims who have lost computers, laptops and other IT gear are being urged not to throw out broken computers and to call the Queensland IT relief fund for free assistance and replacement gear.
Queensland IT Flood Relief’s program director and Datacom employee, Lewis Benge, said the main target was small to medium businesses, schools and community groups without flood insurance. IT equipment includes computers, printers, laptops and phone/PBX systems.
Although Benge said there was not enough equipment to replace damaged IT gear for families or individuals yet, they should keep their computers and call the program to get their hard drives recovered free of charge – potentially saving vital movies, documents or photos.
One Brisbane school reportedly threw out hundreds of water damaged PCs without attempting a recovery for spare parts and hard drives.
“We’re still after more equipment and we’re trying to understand the full impact of the flood,” he said. “Because so much of the city is still inundated and many people were on leave, it may be two weeks before we understand the true impact on businesses.”
Despite the generosity of companies such as Microsoft, Datacom and several IT resellers throughout NSW and Brisbane, Benge said more equipment and assistance was desperately needed as the program ramped up.
“If a school got knocked out and they needed our support to get back up and running that could take up 30-50 machines and wipe out our stock quite quickly,” he said. “We’re desperately after things like tools and cleaning equipment to help recover hard drives as well as logistical support such as pallets to help transport kit.”
Primary cleaning and repair operations are set to be based in Sydney to minimise the impact on Queensland’s infrastructure. Gear will be shipped to and from Brisbane by a courier firm donating its resources.
The program’s Brisbane coordinator and HOP2IT service delivery manager, Mike Hopgood, said the industry support had been overwhelming since the program started on January 14.
But he said many vendors that wanted to help were holding back because they feared it was run by scam artists.
“Initially we were using Hotmail accounts to get going so companies at the big end of town were sitting back to wait and see how we were travelling,” he said. “[Scam artists] are a very key concern for everyone in the core team and we’re making sure we’re seen to be professional.”
Businesses that sign on to get free equipment will need to provide ABNs and other details to ensure they’re not scam artists. Six calls for help have already been made and are being dealt with by the program.
To donate or receive assistance, please call 1300 023 044, email info@QLDITRelief.org or visit the program’s website here. Money donations are not being accepted.