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We don't want an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff

Written by David A Crooke and Aunty D. As I sat there late last night listening to some of the lovely songs that soothed my soul playing through my TV from the Fire Relief Concert, I started to wonder if people really realise what is going on.

The stark reality is brutal for all those who have been affected by this seasons horrific bushfires. The long reaching devastation affects people on a physical, mental and financial level. The symptoms of PTSD are evident in more than half the people in my own home town of Batemans Bay in varying degrees. We should have a mobile strike force of mental health teams on the ground. I don't have all the answers... all I can see is my own struggle and those of my mates and neighbours. We are told, go stand in this queue, call this number, go to the local hospital, see your local GP... Does nobody understand how hard that is? Does anybody understand what it does to a suicidal person to hear somebody say, "well it is evident you are not going to kill yourself today, you are doing so well, this will pass, be on your way"? I hear to many stories of this happening and just wonder when real help will come, what people have to do to be heard. Back to this "Relief" Concert and it's messages of unity, hope, love and understanding. I understand that the funds collected by the concert were for distribution to: a) The Red Cross b) RSPCA c) National program FRRR for slow release to community leaders with identified needs arising in a year or two, mostly focused on preparing for the next bout of emergency they face. Oh also, some immediate needs like school uniforms etc. There is a general feeling in bushfire affected areas that the Red Cross (and other charitable organisations) have not yet scratched the surface of the needs of individuals, businesses and communities and the people who actually need help now. On reading ALL of the information about where funding will go from this concert am I to form the conclusion it is not really for the relief of current needs, but rather some esoteric and worthwhile contribution to Australian emergency response and recovery in times to come. I might just be confused, but reading the publicity and the marketing bylines I really thought funds raised would actually go directly into helping those impacted NOW by the terrible 2019 / 2020 bushfire season. I don't see that it will at all. The animals are already dead, already stressed communities and volunteers are doing the work and the government and charitable millions are too delayed, wrapped in red tape to be of use. Wouldn't it have been better to bill this as "let's plan for the future" rather than "bushfire relief"? In the meanwhile, back in the real world where we ARE grateful for any and all help given our key cry is - We want to be heard, we want the real needs of our loved ones, our families, our communities, our farmers to be understood.We don't want an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, we want to see loving arms outstretched to prevent the falls at the top. As communities and neighbours we have been doing this, but heck! our arms are mighty tired. I am just one of many and after almost 3 months after losing my own home I experienced a complete panic attack out of the blue. Where was my invite to the warm embrace of this concert? I'm sorry, I am not feeling the love.

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