When Covid-19 arrived on Australia’s doorstep in early 2020, recovery efforts following the devastating Black Summer bushfires were halted in accordance with public health orders. Bushfire-affected communities, off the back of drought, fire and floods, were then faced with extended periods of pandemic induced isolation. Now, nearly two years on, there is still much work to be done on the relief effort and the volunteers of Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) are rolling up their sleeves to help.
DRA, a partner of Lions Australia, is a veteran-led, non-profit organisation specialising in disaster relief. Since their foundation in 2016, volunteers have helped over 200 communities in the wake of natural disasters, both in Australia and abroad. Much like Lions, members are dedicated to serving their communities and working together to help those in need.
DRA have recently launched Project Resilience, which aims to assist at least 34 vulnerable communities become more resilient to natural hazards by 2025. DRA intends to empower these communities with projects that build resilience to natural disasters and foster a sense of community pride.
The first Project Resilience activity took place in Mallacoota, in Victoria’s Gippsland region, one of the hardest hit towns during the Black Saturday bushfires of 2019/20. As the bushfires raged across Australia, it was apocalyptic images of Mallacoota that were plastered across the globe. Photographs of an entire community huddled on a beach as the world glowed red around them became an emblem of Australia’s bushfire crisis.
With disaster recovery activities limited as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mallacoota is still in need of assistance. As part of Operation Thorpe, DRA recently spent two weeks in the area working to make safe and assist with the clean-up efforts whilst building community resilience and mitigate any future disasters.
As Disaster Relief Australia deploys teams across Australia under Project Resilience, the organisation is seeking volunteers. If you’re interested in assisting with this initiative, or their disaster relief efforts, you can find more information here.