26 March, 2018

A team of ADRA volunteers has been personally thanked by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for their efforts responding to the devastating bushfires in south-eastern NSW.

Hundreds of people were evacuated to Bega and Bermagui following the Tathra bushfire that rapidly spread on March 18. The fire completely destroyed dozens of homes, while dozens of other houses were partially damaged. Some residents were forced to flee their homes at short notice and take shelter on the beach as the fires raged.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull listens to ADRA volunteer Sonya Watts. [Credit: Ian Campbell, About Regional]

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull listens to ADRA volunteer Sonya Watts. [Credit: Ian Campbell, About Regional]

ADRA volunteers at the Bega Showground evacuation centre helped arrange accommodation for 160 people and provided remote assistance to the Bermagui evacuation centre. The ADRA volunteers worked alongside volunteers from other agencies and community groups.

Mr Turnbull and Ms Berejiklian personally thanked ADRA and other volunteers when they visited the Bega evacuation centre.

Tathra fires ADRA Premier Berejiklian

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (right) and Member for Bega Andrew Constance (fourth from left) with ADRA volunteers.

ADRA’s NSW Emergency Coordinator Janice Fray paid tribute to the volunteers.

“These volunteers displayed enormous generosity in giving their time to help people displaced by the fires,” Mrs Fray said.

“It all happened so quickly and people had to leave urgently. The ADRA volunteers did a terrific job responding and providing immediate assistance.

Tathra fires Jindabyne & Bega volunteers evac centre

“The local community has taken ownership of this disaster and are doing a great job “looking after their own. They are extremely supportive of those who have been impacted and are easing the distress that comes with grief and loss.”

ADRA and other organisations encourage cash gifts, which are useful and efficient, rather than donated goods, which may not be needed, can overwhelm the community, and involve significant time and effort to sort, store and distribute.