By Michael Giles
THE Police and Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville said at the weekend that the bushfires in East Gippsland and the State’s north east will not be stopped until we get 200ml of rain or they burn through to the coast or interstate.
It’s a marathon not a sprint.
There will be more days like Sunday and Monday, December 29 and 30.
And while we still look lush and green down here in South Gippsland, there’s the potential for us to be impacted by the same fires as this region finally dries out later in February and early March.
Fingers crossed it doesn’t happen, but we should all be ready with our fire plans to match our personal and family scenarios.
In the meantime, we are in a position to help.
Our fire fighters have already made a crucial contribution on the front line, in strike teams, and we thank them and their bosses for what they are doing on our behalf.
Locals have also pitched in and supported Red Cross and other agencies.
The ‘Need for Feed’ hay drive has already received support locally and could do with a lot more.
And several organisations have arranged the collection of bottled water and non-perishable food and goods.
But the best way to help is with a donation to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF), a fund established by Gippslanders, exclusively for Gippslanders, and supported by the region’s six shire councils.
Donations can be made via Paypal at www.gerf.org.au, at any branch of the NAB across Australia or in person at Alan Wilson Insurance Brokers at 40 Argyle Street Traralgon.
If you’d like to donate at any NAB branch, simply let the teller know you’d like to make a donation to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.
All donations over $2 are tax deductable and if you provide the NAB teller with your name and address, GERF will send you a receipt.
Donations can also be made by sending a cheque or money order to Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, PO Box 508 Traralgon VIC 3844.
Residents affected by the fires should contact their local Council Municipal Recovery Manager, who will assess the applicant’s situation and then make a referral to GERF where applicable.
Funds are being released immediately as required.
The Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund was established in 1978 and is operated by local volunteers for Gippsland communities affected by natural disaster events. Further information is available at www.gerf.org.au.