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Eurobodalla Emergency Operations Centre community update, 12 January

Fires

NSW RFS report that weather for the next seven days is predicted to be more favourable with the chance of showers later in the week. Although there is still significant amounts of fire across the area the risk has eased. Firefighters and support agencies will continue work to contain and recover from the fires over coming weeks and months.

Fire impacted residents

Evacuation centres remain open 24/7 at:

· Batemans Bay evacuation centre Hanging Rock Function Centre, Hanging Rock Place

· Moruya evacuation centre Moruya Basketball stadium, in the showgrounds, Albert Street

· Narooma evacuation centre Leisure Centre, Bluewater Drive

Returning to Moruya west

Residents of Deua, Pollwombra and Larry’s Mountain Road areas west of Moruya may not return home for now while NSW RFS continues to monitor fire activity in that area.

Travel

Emergency services are asking people in the Eurobodalla to avoid fire-affected residential areas to respect the privacy of those who have lost homes.

Areas west of highway, from north of Moruya and south to Bodalla, are not accessible due to severe fire damage. Access is limited to residents in those areas, who are being supported.

Please observe roadblocks. They are in place for your safety.

NEW Visitors: information for residents

NSW Rural Fire Service Far South Coast advise that weather for the next seven days is predicted to be more favourable with the chance of showers later in the week. Although there is still significant amounts of fire across the Far South Coast the risk has eased and NSW RFS advised the public yesterday there are villages and towns that are now safe for people to visit.

The Rural Fire Service is asking local holiday parks and accommodation providers to review their systems of monitoring weather conditions and changes in the fire situation so they can ensure their guests are well informed and stay safe whilst visiting the area.

Eurobodalla Council and NSW RFS are urging visitors to make contact with their accommodation provider or the Batemans Bay or Narooma Visitor Information Centres to discuss local conditions before travelling to the Eurobodalla.

Council understands the community is hurting and that our recovery has barely begun. Part of that recovery is the return of visitors to help businesses get back on their feet. Council’s tourism promotions at this time will welcome visitors, let them know the community needs their compassion, but also tell them honestly about the damage the community has sustained.

That will include up to date information about areas of Eurobodalla that are not accessible due to fire damage, water restrictions, National Parks, State Forests and other closures, along with requests to respect the privacy of residents and avoid fire-impacted residential areas, and that they must be vigilant while in the Eurobodalla and monitor Fires Near Me and Live Traffic. Council will continue to keep the community and tourism businesses informed about its approach to visitor promotions.

NEW Kings Highway

The Kings Highway is expected to open this week. A re-opening announcement from Transport for NSW is expected shortly. 

Eurobodalla Recovery Centre

Eurobodalla’s Recovery Centre will open at 9am tomorrow, Monday 13 January 2020, located in the Batemans Bay Community Centre at 2 Museum Place, Batemans Bay.

The centre is an official NSW Government Disaster Welfare Assistance Point. On Monday, immediate assistance with accommodation and relief grants will be available to fire-impacted residents.

In the coming days, services will expand to become a one-stop shop for recovery information and services for the community, and to expedite government processes. Professional staff who understand the emergency will be on hand to help. The Recovery Centre will also be a safe place for those affected by the disaster to meet and talk about their experiences. No appointment is necessary. You will be welcomed and supported.

Eurobodalla Recovery Centre

2 Museum Place, Batemans Bay

9am-5pm daily

Cleaning up after fires

In Eurobodalla, the bushfires have destroyed 453 homes, 73 facilities, and 722 outbuildings, with damage sustained to 228 houses, 28 facilities and 223 outbuildings.

It is imperative people do not enter properties until advised it is safe. The building could be unstable, there are possibly electrical hazards, hot coals or hazardous materials.

Licensed contractors from NSW Public Works Authority started working through Eurobodalla’s fire-affected areas on Monday 6 January. Signs are displayed on properties that have been inspected to provide advice for owners. You can find out the status of your property by calling Public Works Advisory on 1800 885 539.

Do not sift through fire-damaged material until it has been inspected and verified to be asbestos-free. Public Works Authority is prioritising areas where there is an increased likelihood of children potentially accessing fire-affected sites.

Building rubble should not be buried as it may contain hazardous materials.

Don’t spread ash around your property, particularly if asbestos materials were used in your home or other structures, or CCA-treated timber was burnt. Moisten the ash with water to minimise dust and keep damp but do not use high pressure water sprays.

NEW Power

Essential Energy advise that 1,473 Eurobodalla customers continue without power following the bushfires. Power was restored yesterday to 149 customers in Mogo, including Mogo Zoo and the undamaged shops. 49 customers in Catalina were restored. Work resumes today to restore the fire-damaged network around Surf Beach, Malua Bay, Catalina, Mogo.

NEW Water

All Eurobodalla residents should be conservative with water use to make sure we have enough water for drinking and firefighting. Level 3 restrictions remain in place, meaning all outdoor water use is restricted to up to one hour of watering your garden between 6am and 8am OR 6pm and 8pm. Please help conserve water and refrain from washing your car.

If you notice neighbours misusing water, you might feel comfortable having a chat to explain why it’s important to conserve our water for firefighting and community use, or you can call 1800 755 760 to report.

NEW Swimming and beaches

Smoke, ash, debris, potential runoff from burnt areas and possible sewer surcharges may have impacted Eurobodalla’s waterways. As a precaution, the advice is to avoid swimming in waterway and beaches, especially if the water looks murky and discoloured.

Eurobodalla’s paid and volunteer lifesavers have been deployed to assist the emergency response, and beaches are currently not patrolled.

Eurobodalla’s swimming centres at Batemans Bay, Moruya and Narooma are open.

Rubbish collection

Eurobodalla’s kerbside collection is back on track, but not necessarily up to date yet. The Surf Beach tip fire has put additional pressure on resources and Council is asking residents for patience while operations return to normal after the fires. Please resume your normal collection schedule from Monday 13 January.

Council advises they were unable to provide the additional green waste pick-ups advertised for the north of the shire because of the Surf Beach tip closure. Please continue your good bin habits – red for waste, yellow for recycling, green for green waste.

Surf Beach tip is closed due to fire impacts. Moruya Transfer Station will now open seven days per week until Surf Beach re-opens, and Brou tip is open seven days per week. 

Residents whose bins have been destroyed by fire, please contact Council’s waste services on 4474 1024 to organise delivery of replacements.

Fire affected land managers – stock and infrastructure assistance

Fire affected land managers can report stock losses and infrastructure damage, request animal assessment, or request emergency fodder or water for stock, by calling the Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647.  Fodder distribution points are now open across the South East. Please call the hotline to register and only present to a fodder distribution point when advised to.

NSW Police

NSW Police has deployed additional personnel to Eurobodalla to assist in the emergency response. Fire impacted areas or areas that have evacuated are patrolled regularly to protect property.

NSW Police report there has been no volume crime increase in Eurobodalla. Recent reported incidents of stealing and break and enter do not represent a significant increase on previous years. If you have information about illegal activity or suspected perpetrators, call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Australian Defence Force

Australian Defence Force personnel have been deployed to the Far South Coast to assist in bushfire clean-up efforts.

Donations

Eurobodalla has been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of people from around Australia donating items for our fire affected residents. However, services are now struggling to manage the volume of donated goods. They’re filling up community space and taking the time of workers away from focusing on the welfare and recovery of residents. The best way people can help is to donate to one of the charities associated with the recovery effort. Money gives people choice to buy the things they really need and lets them support their local businesses by spending locally. Consider donations to:

· Salvation Army 2019 November Bushfire Appeal

· Red Cross Relief and Recovery

· St Vincent de Paul Society Bushfire Appeal

· Wildlife Rescue

NEW Looking after your mental health

Additional health workers have arrived from out of the area to assist in providing psychological care, support and services to the Eurobodalla community. They are connected with evacuation centres and the Local Health District care team. 

If you or anybody you know needs psychological support, please contact NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call Triple Zero (000) or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.

The following services are here to help. They are confidential and available 24/7. 

· NSW Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511

· Lifeline – 13 11 14 

· Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467 

· Men’s Line Australia – 1300 78 99 78 

· Kids Help Line – 1800 55 1800  

· 1800 RESPECT  – 1800 737 732 

· Domestic Violence Line – 1800 656 463 

· Beyond Blue Support Service – 1300 22 4636 

· Alcohol Drugs Information Service – 1800 250 015 

· After Hours GP Helpline – 1800 022 222

· LINKS2HOME Emergency Accommodation – 1800 152 152

Rural Financial Counselling Service P 1800 686 175 Provides free information and assistance to primary producers, fishers and small rural businesses on financial position, budgets and funding.

NSW Rural Assistance Authority P 1800 678 593  Provides assistance to rural producers and small businesses in regional NSW. 

Reach Out is a youth-focused website which provides help and support for people aged 25 and under.

General practitioners can help you access a Mental Health Care Plan.

Community updates

Eurobodalla Emergency Operations Centre will continue to provide a 10am update for the community. These are distributed to local media, community associations, evacuation centres, posted on Eurobodalla Council’s Facebook page and website, as well as printed and pinned to community noticeboards. Other announcements are made as required via local media and social media. Eurobodalla Council prepares and distributes the official communications as part of the multi-agency emergency response.

Don’t forget to keep a battery-powered radio on hand for company and information should power go out. Our local radio stations ABC Southeast and 2EC/PowerFM provide continuous coverage and broadcast the official community updates.

Key contacts

· Fires Near Me app and website or call 1800 679 737

· Live Traffic app and website or call 132 701

· Disaster Welfare Assistance (food and shelter, disaster relief grants) emergency.nsw.gov.au or call 1800 018 444

· NSW DPI Agriculture and Animal Services call 1800 814 647

Chief Inspector Greg Flood

Eurobodalla Local Emergency Controller

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