Monday 6 January 2019

As we’re all aware, right now Victoria is experiencing catastrophic bushfires across the east and north east including East Gippsland, Mansfield, Wellington, Wangaratta, Towong and Alpine.

This is the worst bushfire season we have experienced since the Black Saturday fires in 2009 and the State Government has declared a State of Disaster.

For those wanting to help out, I thought I would quickly draw attention to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal that has just been launched by the State Government. The appeal is dedicated to providing practical support to Victorian families and communities as they begin to rebuild their lives.

You can also donate to the CFA who are doing the unimaginable, courageous job of fighting these fires.

This is a very distressing time for the impacted communities and our broader community too. Lives have been lost, people are missing, and properties have been destroyed. If you are experiencing trauma from these fires or the associated news coverage, please make sure to look after your physical, mental and emotional health by speaking to someone. Here is a list of options:

  • your doctor or local community health centre
  • a counsellor or psychologist
  • Lifeline, phone: 13 11 14
  • Parentline, phone: 13 22 89
  • NURSE-ON-CALL phone: 1300 60 60 24 for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days)
  • Australian Psychological Society Referral Service, phone: 1800 333 497

To the houses directly impacted by these fires, I wanted to express my deepest solidarity. I’ve been hearing of many houses doing really important disaster relief work over the last few days, from collecting and distributing donations, holding town meetings, to providing meals for servicemen/women and displaced locals. I know as a sector, in these times of adversity, the comfort, support and resilience you provide to your communities is immeasurable.

Please look after yourselves and each other. And as always, please do not hesitate to contact me directly in the event that there is anything that myself or NHVic can do to help during this difficult time.

Yours in community,

Nicole Battle
CEO Neighbourhood Houses Victoria