An ongoing volunteering program with Disaster Relief Australia mobilises and deploys skilled teams of volunteers to bushfire-affected regions.
After the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20, Minderoo Foundation set up an ongoing volunteering program with Disaster Relief Australia (DRA), to mobilise and deploy skilled teams of volunteers to bushfire-affected regions across the east coast of Australia.
Since then, 840 volunteers have helped communities recover from the aftermath of seven extreme weather events across 74 communities – including the recent devastating bushfires in the Perth Hills in February 2021.
The latest evolution of this program is called ‘Project Resilience’, which is aimed at helping communities prepare for and mitigate the impacts of disasters like fires and floods before these events occur.
In the immediate aftermath of disasters, there is often a spike in volunteers wanting to help their fellow Australians. As extreme weather events become more frequent, more volunteers are needed to help communities adapt and plan in the ‘off season’ in between events to lessen the impact and prevent the loss of lives, livelihoods, built environments and wildlife that could be just around the corner.
The Minderoo Foundation Fire & Flood Resilience Blueprint highlights that well-connected communities are more effective at solving problems, understanding risks, responding to crises, and recovering from disasters. Yet, half of the country still lives in a community with low-to-moderate disaster resilience.
The DRA recruitment program will address this shortfall by growing the capability of first responders, including military veterans, emergency management, and response specialists. Outreach efforts will also raise community awareness of natural hazards, inspiring local residents to act.
The end state by 2025 will be to contribute towards a national volunteer ‘army’ drawn from government, industry and the community, with 3000 volunteers available for deployment – realising over 16,000 volunteer days of community resilience operations over four years.
Watch this video featuring Geoff Evans, CEO of Disaster Relief Australia, describing the program and what it involves.