As we are all aware both the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island have been hit hard by the recent bushfires. In addition, we are also all witnessing via the media the continuing horrific scenes interstate with bushfires.
These events have shaken all of us. Whether you or someone you know has lost a home, a livelihood, a loved one or a place that was special to you – words aren't enough to convey how this feels. There is a real sense of powerlessness as we are overwhelmed by the enormity of these unprecedented events.
We're all feeling a deep sense of sorrow for what people have lost. Whilst we all try to support the emergency services, relief and recovery operations, through donations in cash and kind; we need to acknowledge how amazing our communities are in a time of need.
People around the country have donated hundreds of millions of dollars. Local fire services and charities have received countless donations of foods and goods - so many in fact, that they have reached capacity. So the option of cash donations seems to be the best option allowing the agencies to apply the funds to the areas of most need.
The 5049 Coastal Community Association has made a donation to The KI Council’s appeal fund and RSPCA South Australia who are providing strategic and targeted support to our sister Coastal Community. Click on the links if you are interested.
The catastrophic bushfires have and are devasted lives, homes, wildlife, livestock, land and livelihoods in South Australia and across our nation. It is a crisis of unprecedented proportions, and it demands an unprecedented response. Right around Australia, communities are mobilising, providing assistance in every possible way to family, to friends and to complete strangers. The stories of kindness, compassion and generosity we’ve witnessed or seen in the media shows the Australian spirit is strong, providing a source of hope for many facing the darkest and most difficult of times in recent memory.
The immediate needs are being supported to the best of our collective abilities sometimes at great personal cost. There has been a good deal of disappointment by many here and overseas at our lack of national leadership and preparedness, despite the clear evidence and the undisputable links to the climate crisis. There is also a lot of misinformation and one dimensional finger pointing on a subject that is immensely complex and requires a much deeper analysis; which may be forthcoming if a Royal Commission gets traction…sooner rather than later. One recent authoritative fact check showed that the intensity and destructive nature of the fires was even evident in areas where back burning had been undertaken, so back burning is only part of the solution.
What is clear is this is a line in the sand; things will never and should never be the same again. No more business as usual …at any cost! In rebuilding and re-establishing communities, environment and industry there is little point in replacing like for like. Clearly we need to provide a new version of sustainable occupation and management of these at risk areas, which represent millions of hectares in Australia. We have already lost an area the size of Denmark and it is not over yet…!
If the Southern Ocean Lodge on KI, a state of the art building in 2008 with all its up to date protection was decimated by the fires, then clearly the redesign will need to be more robust and responsive to the site and associated risks. This should apply to all planning and construction which is deemed essential to be reinstated. It is likely that some may choose not to put themselves in harm’s way again or if they do radically rethink methodologies and including farming and land management practices.
We are sure you are making your own arrangement to support other communities and organisations. We do not intend to duplicate activities or inundate you on this topic but felt we should acknowledge the facts and the amazing efforts of our fellow communities and organizations that are contributing to the emergency support and recovery.
Here are a few links to organisations that are helping in our area that you may want to check out:
This can be a particularly challenging time for the emotional and mental health of you or people you know. Lifeline is standing by to take your call on 13 11 14 if you or someone you know would like to talk.