It’s often said necessity is the mother of invention – so when all roads into Mallacoota were cut off by fire, improvisation took over.
In the final hours of 2019, thousands were forced to shelter on the foreshore at Mallacoota, about 500km east of Melbourne, as fires closed in on the town.
People huddled together, fearing for their lives under an angry blood-red sky, before the Australian Navy undertook one of the largest rescue operations in its history. For those waiting to leave, the Town Hall became the place where people who had lost everything found comfort and support.
There is no template for dealing with these disasters. If something needs to be done, the local heroes find solutions to the obstacles.
Minderoo Foundation visited Mallacoota in the days after the bushfire crisis had hit, when thousands had been evacuated and only a handful of residents remained.
After hearing about the critical needs from people on the ground, we delivered battery packs, cable ties, solar generators and other supplies.
Air and sea were the only way into town, so we found a way to deliver by air and sea. The next day, we returned with more essential items.
Now we are continuing the conversation with residents and community leaders and working to mobilise critical recovery solutions.
Mallacoota will rise again.
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.