The recovery from Australia’s bushfire disaster has started, and Minderoo Foundation has been on the ground in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, visiting fire-affected towns to listen to what communities need.
Our team heard heartbreaking stories of loss and devastation.
Yet amid so much pain we saw strong signs of hope, with community champions pitching in, no matter the cost and long after they were weary with exhaustion.
About 2200 homes have been destroyed, along with 3700 other buildings and structures. Some 11 million hectares have burned, and large swathes of the countryside are still on fire.
The Minderoo team visited communities in towns and localities that are becoming known to all Australians in the nightly roll call on the news.
This included Kangaroo Island and Woodside in South Australia; Armidale, Wytaliba, Tenterfield, Torrington, Drake, Moruya, Mogo, Malua Bay and Merimbula in New South Wales, and Mallacoota and Bairnsdale in Victoria.
We heard devastating stories from the people on the ground: families without a home, farmers who lost their livelihoods, firefighters risking their lives.
But we were also inspired. That fighting Aussie spirit was not broken. There was a rigid determination to recover and rebuild.
We were there to listen to the communities and ask about their priorities for help.
Minderoo Foundation has experience when it comes to disaster response. We responded after Black Saturday in 2009, the 2011 Queensland Floods and the 2016 Yarloop Fire.
We know the communities affected by this bushfire disaster will need a long-term commitment.
We will continue to bring you updates from the road. Voices from those affected by the disaster and stories of communities coming together.
Minderoo is mobilising and funding volunteers who can provide support on the ground.
Bushfire affected communities need helping hands from all over the country to move along the road to recovery.
Together with local and government agencies, Minderoo Foundation seeks to help regional towns and communities.