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Monday 14 January 2013

Response Team assesses need in Australia after fires
Response Team assesses need in Australia after fires Former Murrindindi Shire Mayor, Lyn Gunter, with SRT members Greg Moran (AU), Scott Jarman (AU) and Lynn Jarman (AU), in Dunalley, Tasmania's worst hit town by recent fires, January 2013.

"Residents had no time to flee as the fire came over the hills and swept through the town in under four minutes," said Dunalley’s Mayor, Kerry Vincent, who is also a Rotarian, to a ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) that has just arrived in the Tasmanian township recently damaged by the Australian bushfires.

Dunalley is said to be the worst affected area in Australia’s southern state. SRT members and Rotarians, Greg Moran (AU), Scott Jarman (AU) and Lynn Jarman (AU) are working with local government and Tasmania’s State Emergency Service to assess the need and assist an estimated 150 families who have lost everything.

"On entering the area, we witnessed the indiscriminate path of the fire noting that some areas of bush land and pastoral fields have been left untouched,’" Jarman said. "But houses centered in the fields have been destroyed by embers reported as travelling some 15 kilometers [nearly10 miles] and igniting on impact."

'Fields and livestock destroyed'

"In other areas, electricity lines are burnt to the ground and fields and livestock are destroyed. Yet, remarkably, lone houses stand untouched, unlike the numerous businesses and households in the town center that now only have blackened remnants of chimneys to identify where homes used to stand."

Local residents were pleased to see ShelterBox’s immediate response after the reopening of the access roads into the fire-damaged area, one of which was former Murrindindi Shire Mayor, Lyn Gunter. ShelterBox worked closely with her when responding to the Victoria state Black Saturday bushfires that destroyed 1,300 homes in 2009.

"The ShelterBox tents provided essential support for those in need during the crisis and they will once again be well-received by those that have lost everything to these recent blazes and need support to restart," Gunter commented.
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