Goongerah climate refugees support & rebuild fund

By Ed Hill

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A little bit of context

The town of Goongerah in far East Gippsland has been hard hit by the devastating fires of late 2019 into 2020. Situated 70km north of Orbost near the Errinundra Plateau, Goongerah is a beautiful forested valley dissected by two rivers that connect the town. The small population has been staunchly self sufficient for many years, and the residents are accustomed to doing things for themselves, largely without outside support.

This town has been the centre of the forest conservation movement for many years and it includes two environment groups, three wildlife refuges, a well-supported CFA, a community hall and until recently a tiny school. Community is at the heart of Goongerah.

But there’s a problem

The large fire that impacted the town had been burning since November 2019 in the Snowy River National Park. Hot, windy and dry conditions, made worse by drought, drove the fire closer to the township. On 27 December, an evacuation alert was made and some of the residents left to nearby towns, many of them having to evacuate soon after to other places as the massive fire impacted the district. Around 20 residents stayed in Goongerah to defend their homes.

On 30 December the fire front hit Goongerah. The residents who remained fought the huge fire storm for many hours. Remarkably no one was injured. Power and phones went out, and the road became impassable. The fire became huge, and the extent of the damage is still being assessed. At least eight houses and many more sheds, cars, fences and equipment were lost to the fire.

Fire is still threatening the valley and dry hot conditions are predicted to persist.

Here’s what we’re doing about it

We are a group of friends and ex residents of Goongerah. We're raising funds for fire affected residents and we need your help to assist those who stayed to fight and those who evacuated. We are working to provide whatever it is that they need.

In the immediate, the town is cut off and the people there require supplies. The people who left also require supplies - many of them have had to evacuate more than once, including both wildlife rescuers who are still caring for baby kangaroos, wombats and possums.

In the months and years to come, Goongerah residents will need to clean up, rebuild and rebuild their lives. They need our help.

You can join us

You can help the residents of this remote and beautiful community. We need your help to raise $50,000 for critical supplies needed now and into the future as the community rebuilds.

In the immediate term supplies like fuel for pumps and generators, food, water, medicine, first aid for injured animals and stock feed is urgently needed.

Your donation will also buy medicine and food for animals. Your support will fund supplies that residents can't provide for themselves as they are unable to work or go about their usual business.

As the town rebuilds your donation will also be used for fencing, building materials, solar panels, batteries, equipment, fire bunkers, seedlings, tools, fruit trees, and anything else that is needed to rebuild the community.

Goongerah is on the frontline of the climate emergency. The federal government has turned its back on the climate crisis and failed to show the leadership, compassion and empathy that suffering communities so desperately need.

It is up to all of us to step up and help. Your donation will go directly towards fire recovery efforts for this remote and resilient community.

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Team Members

Ed Hill