Help is at hand for natural disaster victims

FOR FARMERS: BlazeAid volunteers get stuck into clearing fences of flood debris.
FOR FARMERS: BlazeAid volunteers get stuck into clearing fences of flood debris.

BLAZEAID is a volunteer based disaster help organisation that works with, and alongside, rural families that have been severely impacted by natural disasters, such as flood and fire.

The Murgon-based camp BlazeAid co-ordinator Paul Mortenson said BlazeAid helped to rebuild fences, among many other things.

"We don't help with just the sort that keep cattle in," he said.

"Having someone to talk with and to show landholders that they are not alone in facing disasters is a very important part of the work."

Mr Mortenson said many primary producers in the region had been devastated by repeated flood events over the past two years.

He said in many cases, the rebuilding work done after the 2011 floods was washed away during the end of January 2013 event.

It was then repaired, only to be washed away again a fortnight later.

Mr Morteson, who co-ordinated the 2011 flood assistance, said then there were 35 farms assisted.

But so far this year, there had been 70 requests for workers.

"That number is from Murgon; we do not have numbers for Mundubbera and Monto base camps but expect similar," he said.

"Base camps should be opened in Gin Gin, Biggenden and Dululu in the near future, further increasing the number of farmers asking for help and increasing the numbers of volunteers needed."

Base camps are headquarters for an area and are used as the check-in points for volunteers and possibly very basic accommodation, if required. Sometimes local residents volunteer meals.

Mr Morteson said most volunteers came from a distance, with many grey nomads on their trips calling in to help.

"We would like to get more local volunteers," he said. "I would like to see groups from local sporting clubs, businesses and other groups give a day or two to help."

Intending volunteers are asked to phone BlazeAid (0429 381 488, Murgon base camp) so some idea of numbers can be obtained, transport co-ordinated and workers dispersed to where most needed.

Volunteers do not need to be expert in any field; just to give a hand for a day or more. Sensible work clothes are required, with safety vests nd fencing tools supplied.

By registering before each day's work, volunteers are covered by insurance. The BlazeAid contact is

Topics:  blazeaid flood recovery natural disasters

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