We are a lucky lot living here in Australia and we are spoiled with the natural beauty of our country; red open plains, eucalypt covered ranges and dazzling blue seas. But as Dorothea MacKellar likes to remind us, we are also the land of droughts and flooding rains…not to mention fires, cyclones, severe storms and oil-spills.
When we are hit with such a devastating natural or man-made disaster, Australians are the kind of folk that pull together. The men and women of the SES, RFS and the Red Cross amongst others launch themselves into the thick of it, risking their lives to save the life and property of others. Donations of clothes, money and food flow into the affected area and make a positive difference to those in need. But some weeks and months after the initial public outpouring of support, affected farmers and residents are still in shock, facing a long road of land and environment recovery after the initial burst of relief winds down.
At this time, victims of natural disaster are in need of secondary disaster relief. The arrival of volunteers to assist with medium-term essential work such as rebuilding fences and clearing debris is just what the doctor ordered to lift the spirits of struggling families. This is where Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) comes in.
Most recently, CVA volunteers assisted in removing burnt trees and rebuilding burnt fences following the 2007 “Black Saturday” bushfires, and following Cyclone Yasi in 2011, CVA volunteers continued to assist in urgently needed post-flood environmental clean-up and native fauna recovery, months after the disaster hit.
The Wollongong office of CVA is looking to put together an Illawarra disaster recovery squad, kindly funded by Woodside Energy. CVA will be running an information night for those who might be interested in joining a team of specialised volunteers who will be trained to assist those people and animals in need following a bushfire, flood or severe storm event.
“Our goal is to have a team representing the Illawarra trained and ready to respond should we be unfortunate enough to experience a catastrophic event in our home state” explains Renae Riviere Illawarra Regional Manager
“The people of our region are the type that typically want to help out, but don’t always have the means to do so. We hope to provide them with those means in terms of transport, accommodation and training so that if the need arises, the good Samaritans of our area can respond to help those still in crisis once the dust has settled so to speak”.
An information session will be held at the Old Wollongong Court House on Harbour Street on
When: Wednesday December 5th at 5:30pm.
To book a place, or for more information please call Conservation Volunteers Australia on 42289246 or email Wollongong@cva.org.au.