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Bega Evacuation Centres ready with donations, assistance, information

LISA HERBERT of About Regional 3 JANUARY 2020

Bega Evacuation Centre at the Showgrounds Thursday (2 January). Photos: Lisa Herbert.

In preparation for tomorrow’s extreme weather, people are flooding into the evacuation centres at the Bega Showground, the Recreation Grounds and Indoor Sports Stadium in Bega, Club Sapphire Merimbula and Berrambool Oval at Merimbula where there is power, food, water and mobile phone coverage. 

Pat Johnston, Judith Holdsworth and other wonderful Red Cross volunteers at the Bega Showgrounds on Thursday (2 January).

Evacuation Centres are staffed by a range of support agencies on the ground to help evacuees and make everyone as comfortable as possible while away from home. Agencies involved include the Red Cross, The Salvation Army, The Anglican Church, Sapphire Community Pantry, Local Lands Services, St John Ambulance Service and others.

CEO of National Charity Foodbank Gerry Andersen has arranged, alongside Bobbins Transport, for two semi-trailer loads of fruit & veg, groceries, pet food, toiletries and water to come to Bega, with one truck delivering to the ravaged village of Cobargo on the way.

St Vinnies has set up an area inside the Bega Show Pavilion loaded with toiletries and personal items for those finding refuge there. 

Donations by the truckload. One of two Bobbins trucks arriving in Bega on Thursday.

Donations have been arriving from Woolworths and Coles supermarkets, The G Spot of Canberra has brought a generous donation of food, and the local Bega car wash owners have returned to Bega from Yarrawonga with food and $300 cash donation for the RFS. Local store Betta Electrical appeared with extremely practical commercial toasters.

Captain Rod Parsons of the Salvation Army is co-ordinating food deliveries with partners Woolworths.

Christine Welsh of Bega’s Sapphire Community Pantry, along with her volunteers Sharon Smith and Sue Rootsey, are providing hands and co-ordination in the kitchen here at the showground, also distributing food, toiletries and groceries to anyone who needs them.

“It’s really nice to see so many people helping” says Christine.

Captain Rod Parsons of the Salvation Army with Christine Welsh at Bega Evac Centre Thursday.

If you choose to move to the Bega evacuation centres or Club Sapphire it’s suggested you bring bedding materials for the people you are with. 

Sasha and Dean Usher of Lochiel have been camping at the Bega Showgrounds since Wednesday morning with their three horses and two dogs.

The Ushers were going to stay on their property but after the fires on New Year’s Eve they said they didn’t want to be worrying about the horses. When they saw the weather forecast, they decided to leave. Horse accommodation has now filled up at the showgrounds.

Sasha Usher from Lochiel here with Pav at the Bega Showgrounds.

Sian Hine of Wallaga Lake has brought her eight beautiful Hungarian Vizslas to Bega, and as they are show dogs, all are securely and comfortably caged. All dogs should be kept on leashes at evacuation centres.

There is currently a Mobile Veterinary Clinic on site at the Bega Sale Yards in Kerrisons Lane, and there is still plenty of room for horses and up to 300 smaller animals. Accommodation of animals at the sale yards is strictly self-care and camping at the Kerrisons Lane site is not encouraged.

Sian Hine has brought her eight Hungarian Vizslas to safety at Bega Showgrounds.

Land Care Services co-ordinator Leanna Moerkerken asks people to please be extremely careful when moving around the sale yards site “due to the extremely large vehicles moving around, delivering stock and fodder”.

For further assistance with animals and agricultural matters call Local Land Services on 1800 814 647. You can register there for an allocation of fodder which will be delivered to you after Saturday’s extreme conditions have passed.

Assistance with animals, mobile vet clinic and horse accommodation is available at Bega Sale Yards on Kerrisons Lane.

In terms of the ongoing bushfire situation, Bega Valley Shire Council asks everyone to take the advice of the emergency services, and to stay in touch with the unfolding situation via the NSW RFS website and the Fires Near Me App.

If you are struggling, contact one of the telephone counselling services: Lifeline – 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636. The Australian Red Cross website also has some practical advice on looking after yourself in a crisis.

Essential Energy is working hard to restore power in a number of locations. You can keep track of outages here.

If you are wanting to assist and help those impacted, the Mayor’s Bushfire Fund is taking donations via EFT: BSB 633-000 Acct: 157357567. 

For the best and most up to date bush fire advice check the NSW RFS website here.

Videos and more updates are on the Bega Valley Shire Council Facebook page. ***** This article was first publish in About Regional

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