Former Murrindindi Shire Mayor Lyn Gunter with SRT members Greg Moran (AU), Scott Jarman (AU) and Lynn Jarman (AU) in Dunalley, Tasmania's worst hit town by recent fires, January 2013.
‘Residents had no time to flee as the fire came over the hills and swept through the town in under four minutes,’ said Dunalley’s Mayor Kerry Vincent, also a Rotarian, to a ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) that has just arrived in the Tasmanian township recently damaged by the Australian bushfires.
Dunalley is said to be the worst affected area in Australia’s southern state. SRT members and Rotarians Greg Moran (AU), Scott Jarman (AU) and Lynn Jarman (AU) are working with local Government and Tasmania’s State Emergency Service to assess the need and assist an estimated 150 households who have lost everything.
‘On entering the area, we witnessed the indiscriminate path of the fire noting that some areas of bush land and pastoral fields have been left untouched,’ said Scott. ‘But houses centered in the fields have been destroyed by embers reported as travelling some 15 kilometres and igniting on impact.
'Fields and livestock destroyed'
‘In other areas electricity lines are burnt to the ground and fields and livestock are destroyed. Yet remarkably lone houses stand untouched unlike the numerous businesses and households in the town centre that now only have blackened remnants of chimneys to identify where homes used to stand.’
Local residents were very pleased to see ShelterBox’s immediate response after the reopening of the access roads into the fire-damaged area, one being former Murrindindi Shire Mayor Lyn Gunter. ShelterBox worked closely with her during the 2009 Victoria state Black Saturday bushfires that destroyed 1,300 homes.
‘The ShelterBox tents provided essential support for those in need during the crisis and they will once again be well-received by those that have lost everything to these recent blazes and need support to restart,’ commented Lyn Gunter.