January 20, 2011, 1:55 PM —
The Australian IT community has banded together, pledging to help schools and small to medium businesses (SMBs) affected by flooding in Queensland through the donation of IT supplies.
The Queensland IT Flood Relief program was established by Datacom employee Lewis Benge, who saw the potential for one company's IT trash to become treasure for Queenslanders who had lost everything.
"I was sitting in my office and staring at a whole bunch of computers that were just about to be chucked out," Benge said.
"I was thinking all of these guys in Queensland have had their computers literally washed down the river, and wouldn't it be helpful if we could help them out.
"From people I've spoken to, there are people that have turned up to their office after the flood waters have receded and there are no devices because the computers are in the river somewhere."
Benge put forward the idea to colleagues and friends, with the goal of transporting used hardware to Queensland.
"Our computers were only three years old and reusable, so we thought let's get them up to Queensland," he said. "I put the idea out to some friends at Microsoft and the wider IT community."
After the news of Benge's donations went viral on social networking site Twitter, he established a website to help streamline interest from the IT community and has so far received donations from Datacom, Knight Frank and Microsoft.
"We have been pledged primarily PCs, Macs, printers and multi-function devices, networking equipment, racks and data centres...and all of that type of equipment," he said.
The Queensland University of Technology has also provided assistance to the project, with staff and students pledging their time as volunteers.
When asked why the Queensland IT Flood Relief program was only being targeted to SMBs and schools, Benge said these groups were least likely to have a disaster recovery plan in place.
"At the moment, we're looking at small to medium enterprise, schools and community centres," he said.