DRA returns to Bega Valley Shire for Critical Bushfire Recovery

Disaster Relief Australia | May 2021

Disaster Relief Australia deployed a six week bushfire recovery operation to the Bega Valley Shire on 29th May, 2021. The veteran led volunteer organisation will bring vital bushfire recovery to Bega residents still suffering the destructive effects of the Black Summer bushfires of 2019/2020. Real hands on help will include tree felling, fence clearing/repairs and debris removal.

The Black Summer Bushfires are collectively known by Australians as the worst fire season ever. The Bega Valley Shire was decimated with fires scorching 58% of the Shire during the mega fire that blazed uncontrollably from NYE 2019 for 65 days. The destruction included 4 lives lost, 465 homes destroyed and countless damages sustained to buildings, properties and livelihood.

The widespread emergence of COVID-19 occurred just days after the fires were contained. DRA was forced to withdraw critical bushfire recovery services from multiple locations around the country including Cobargo. The Bega Valley Shire has not been able to receive necessary assistance due to the pandemics ongoing restrictions.

Disaster Relief Australia CEO Geoff Evans says “Disasters are more frequent and more intense and for those affected deeply personal. We’re determined to bring help where it’s needed most in spite of the challenges of deploying our volunteer workforce nationally during COVID restrictions.”

The effects of the fires continue to linger on many months after. Many residents are still living in rough conditions. Caravans are the norm. The Shire was the worst hit economically (both directly and indirectly) in the region. Ongoing assistance is required to restore livelihoods and bring much needed support and hope.

DRA has received and managed requests for assistance from agencies including National Bushfire Recovery Agency, Service NSW, NSW Department of Primary Industries and Cobargo Bushfire Recovery Centre. Residents will be aided throughout the entire Bega Valley Shire with work to be undertaken in Bega, Eden and Kiah in the south of the Shire and then Yowrie, Cobargo, Quaama, in the north of the Shire.