District 9790 Bushfire Recovery Update  January 20, 2020
The District 9790 Bushfire Recovery Project continues to respond to emergencies and the consequences of the bushfires in north eastern Victoria and southern New South Wales, while being mindful that we still have a long summer and fire season ahead.  Late last week the Ovens and King Valleys still had uncontrolled fires threatening the towns of Bright, Myrtleford, Mount Beauty and Milawa-Oaxley, as noted by Beechworth president Jim Fiford.  The Vic Emergency warning on Friday night was for the evacuation of the Buffalo Valley up to the outskirts of Myrtleford. This region of Victoria has not been directly affected by the bushfires, but have been impacted markedly by the loss of tourism to their region, during the busiest tourist season of the year.  Some businesses have closed and staff put off, so income is lost for many.  We need to look at ways to support these communities and visit the region, when it’s safe to do so.  Perhaps the metropolitan Rotary clubs could come up with some inventive ideas of city-country partnerships to help stimulate these economies.  The fire affected regions will similarly welcome visitors in a later stage of their recovery.
So what’s been happening?
The Back to School Pack project has gained momentum from Rotary clubs and individuals, with 50% of the total being raised in the first three days.  Donations are still required to complete this project.  The aim of the project is to support all children and families attending the Corryong P to 12 School and allow a hassle free beginning to the school year, as well as to support the newsagent, a local business woman who lost fencing and animals at her farm and the old farmhouse. 
The Rotary Club of Albury will work with the Corryong newsagent to assemble the packs.
The president of Sunbury Rotary Club Janine Reinking was pleased to inform us to expect a cheque for USD300 from the Rotary Club of Battambang, Cambodia.  Janine reports “ ..This is a club we sponsored to start and we do projects with them.  We are very involved in Kits of Hope, which is a school kit project supplying unfortunate children to go to PTD school in Battambang…”  Another example of  Rotary Connects the World.
Money is still required to complete this project.  Please consider, if you haven’t already done so.
Donations: DISTRICT FUND BSB 633 000 Account: 140378365.  Please put your club and “Back to School Pack” on as reference.
For farmers whose pastures have been scorched, fodder deliveries are essential.  For those who have lost fences but not stock, re-fencing their properties is paramount to prevent stock roaming.  For those whose stock has died, burying/removing them is a priority.
The Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges has responded to the urgent need of hay and stock feed for the Corryong region with their Bush Fire Hay Drive.  With offers of assistance, both financial and transport, along with donations of hay, they were able to transport around 600 square bales of hay in the first delivery to Sandy Creek two weeks ago, with stage two following close behind. They have mobilised their troops impressively.    I encourage you to go to the Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges Facebook page for updates on their amazing work.
Murray Jones, Rotarian from Holbrook is also organising hay and pellet drop offs in the area, while he is caring for 140 cattle and horses on his property from fire damaged properties at Jingellic and Mt Alfred.  Murray reported that a lady in Jerilderie donated two semi-trailers of hay, one was sent to a farmer at Maragle NSW.  The other was sold and the money donated to the Rotary Club of Holbrook for fencing materials, a fabulous gesture.  The Rotary Club of Holbrook has also organised some much needed supplies to the town of Walwa and Mt Alfred, which still has limited access, no power or phone coverage and diminishing food stocks, as well as supporting the Rural Fire Service and the farming community around Jingellic with meals.
David Earle reports that the demand for horse agistment has decreased.  Many farmers have needed to keep their stock horses to work the cattle and some farmers elected to sell beef cattle at the current good prices for some much needed income.  The dairy farmers are receiving good support from their milk companies.  David will continue to monitor agistment requests.
The fencing teams are working well in the Corryong area with the support from the Rotary Club of Belvoir-Wodonga, who are also providing the catering for the teams and community fencing volunteers.  Camp has been set up at the Corryong sportsground.
The Albury North Rotary Club is planning a dinner meeting with Holbrook and will assist the club with their fencing repairs, when safe to do so.  The Rotary Clubs of Euroa and Benalla will assist friends from Corryong, with their fencing repairs.  Effective Rotary club partnerships are developing.
A group of 4WD enthusiasts from Geelong, who are regulars at the annual Corryong  Man From Snowy River Festival, will arrive soon in Corryong to assist with the fencing.  They will be based at the Colac Colac Caravan Park and will help bring much needed revenue to the area. A BBQ with the Corryong locals is planned.
Rotarians Rob Caddell (Tallangatta) and Bill and Wendy Gerritsen (Appin Park Wangaratta) have completed the four day Camp Coordinator training for BlazeAid and will move into the Corryong area next week, with a fencing camp to be set up shortly afterwards. BlazeAid camps will also begin at Jingellic and possibly Cobargo.  Fencing volunteers are required. If anyone would like to join the BlazeAid teams, or if you would like more information, please contact Phil Clancy.
A generous donation of $15,000 was made last week to the District Bushfire Recovery Project by the Wangaratta company Alpine Truss.  Alpine Truss manufacturer pre-fabricated timber roof trusses, wall frames and posi-strut flooring systems and their company is well known in the north east region of Victoria and beyond.  This donation has been made to directly assist the farmers and local people who have been devastated by the bushfires.  We will keep you informed of further details.
The Rotary Clubs of Appin Park, Wangaratta and Milawa Oxley have completed their wonderful 2 weeks of volunteering at the evacuation centre in Wangaratta.  Rotarian volunteers worked on alternate days with the Lions club preparing and serving meals.  Patti Bulluss reported that they also importantly, spent time sitting with and listening to people’s stories.  The evacuation centre has now closed and most people have gone back to their communities or relocated to family or friends. Milawa Oxley Rotarians will deliver a truck load of non-perishable food and new clothing to Corryong where with the assistance of Corryong Rotarians the goods will be directed to those in need.
The 15,000 P2/N95 face masks donated by American charity Direct Relief are being distributed widely to communities in the region affected by the bushfires and the smoke pollution by AG Margaret Crisp.  AG Dave Barrat reports that the Rotary clubs in group 6 have distributed 1,500 to people in need within their communities.
The Rotary Clubs of Myrtleford, Mt Beauty and Bright are working on a project to provide air purifiers in the Myrtleford, Bright and Mt Beauty Hospitals.
Background to this project has been provided by Mark Lucey, president Rotary Club of Mount Beauty. 
“..During the height of the bushfire emergency Alpine Health evacuated patients from Mount Beauty and Bright to either Myrtleford or other hospitals in the North East.
·  Patients are now returning to the hospitals and aged care facilities
·  Medical staff are concerned about the extremely poor air quality and ongoing health of aged patients
·  With the ongoing extreme poor air quality in the North East and especially the Ovens and Kiewa Valleys Alpine Health have an urgent requirement for portable air purifiers.
·  It been identified a total of 45 Dyson TP04 units (being 15 per hospital) is required @ $700 each total $31,500.
·  Main issue with smoke is 2.5 micron particles which is hazardous to humans especially the frail and those with lung conditions
·  Dr Mark Zagorski (Mt Beauty) recently conducted a test with the above units at Kiewa Valley House 2.5 micron level was 271 – extremely hazardous.
·  After running 4 units for 5 hours the 2.5 micron level was at 33 – Very good.
·  Rotary Club of Mount Beauty has taken the lead on this project and is collaboratively working with Rotary Clubs of Bright and Myrtleford..”
They need your help and donations to the DISTRICT FUND would be appreciated.  For further information contact Mark Lucey.
The Rotary Club of Wodonga West has partnered with Amy's Hairdressing and raised thousands of dollars for IGA vouchers to be distributed in Corryong.
Rotary Club of Tallangatta have been organising hay runs, working at the evacuation centre and supporting Corryong Rotarian friends. They plan to visit as a club as soon as Corryong Rotary is functioning again.
Rotary Club of Belvoir-Wodonga have been doing a great job with the catering for the volunteers who are assisting the fencing teams, as well as supporting the coordination of the fencing teams.
The Rotary Club of Wodonga Central have been supporting their President who is a Salvation Army first responder and they have been very active in distributing the face masks. Please check the Wodonga Central Facebook page.
The Rotary Club of Bellbridge-Lake Hume has supported the district fundraising and the 'Back to School Packs'.
Di Hand from the Rotary Club of Deniliquin is making pouches for injured wildlife.  We’re currently working on - if and where they can be used in our district.  If there is a demand Di may need helpers.
The Rotary Club of Yarrawonga Mulwala’s District 9790 Bushfire Appeal Sunday Market  was a huge success, raising in excess of $7,000.  There were many tired Rotarians at the end of the day.
For further information regarding volunteering please email: firevolunteer@rotary9790.org.au