Tag: Ms Huggins
Victorian authorities are ramping up efforts to reach and evacuate cut-off communities in East Gippsland, where 28 people remain missing after destructive bushfires tore through the region.
- Remote communities across the region are either evacuating in convoys or preparing to stay and defend
- In one isolated town, several residents are relying on a single shared radio at the general store
- For the latest information, visit the Vic Emergency website
Premier Daniel Andrews said 24 Victorian communities were still isolated by bushfires on Thursday afternoon.
Rescue crews were battling to clear roads to reach them so they could evacuate before the risk increased this weekend, he said.
Nine satellite phones had also been dropped into other isolated communities.
This morning, Mr Andrews said the number of people missing in bushfire-affected areas in Victoria had risen from 17 to 28.
“I can confirm today that as at 9:30am, there are 28 people that we cannot locate, and we are very concerned about their wellbeing,” Mr Andrews told a press conference in Melbourne.
Earlier, a body found in a home at Buchan was identified as 67-year-old Mick Roberts.
Thirty-nine firefighters from North America landed in Melbourne on Thursday afternoon to join the battle to control the East Gippsland blazes.
The charity group Need for Feed has also organised fodder to be dropped across East Gippsland to help isolated farmers trying to stop their livestock from starving.
On Friday morning some of the 4,000 people trapped in the coastal town of Mallacoota were transported to a Navy ship that arrived in the area the previous day.
They will be evacuated from Mallacoota to Western Port, at Hastings on the Mornington Peninsula, a journey that is expected to take 17 hours.
Dirt-road convoy gets out of Cann River
A convoy of 46 cars and a bus left Cann River on Thursday afternoon after residents were told trying to leave on Saturday would be extremely dangerous.
The convoy, which included emergency vehicles, was able to leave after crews cleared an old dirt track out of town.
Alison Rainey, who owns a local cafe, said they were all headed to the town of Orbost.
She said some residents who were undecided about leaving had opted to join the convoy after they were told at a briefing that Saturday would be an extremely dangerous day for the town.
Ms Rainey — who has decided to stay in Cann River — said her 10-year-old son was with his father in Bonnie Doon.
“Now that the town population has plummeted there’s plenty [of food] to go around,” she told ABC Statewide Drive.
She said she planned to take shelter in the school if things worsened.
“I feel confident that the school will be fine, that we will be protected here, I have no doubt about that.”
Nowa Nowa residents share single radio
Further west, several residents in Nowa Nowa have been relying on a single shared radio at a general store to monitor bushfire warnings.
Nowa Nowa General Store owner Sandra Huggins said the town was confronted by a “massive wall of fire” on Tuesday. She is now concerned about what will happen this weekend.
“Our community hasn’t had power since Monday evening,” she said.
“Because we have no power or phones or internet we’re not getting any of the emergency warnings.
“If we got out of town a few Ks, we all of sudden get ‘ping, ping, pings’ and all these messages.
“It’s a bit disconcerting to learn you’re on Watch and Act, which you didn’t even know.”
A passing tradie left them with a decent radio, which is now located in the only part of town with reception — in the car park outside the store.
“We don’t get radio reception in our store or in our house,” Ms Huggins said.
“That’s our only contact with what’s happening, we have no idea otherwise.
“It’s very scary, especially with what happened on Monday night and what may happen.”
In the meantime, the community is cooking up the food from their defrosting freezers at a barbecue outside the shop.
“We’re happy to feed anyone who wants to come and eat it,” Ms Huggins said.
Those left in Genoa will face the fires alone
Just north-west of Mallacoota, the small community of Genoa has found itself completely cut off from Victorian authorities as a result of the fires.
CFA chief officer Steve Warrington said Victorian firefighters had asked their NSW counterparts to help, but even they could not reach the town.
He said a police officer had driven from Eden through the fire to get into Genoa and help the community as it was hit by the same blaze that devastated Mallacoota.
On Wednesday, authorities said about 100 people were trapped in Genoa.
David Sykes, who runs the nearby Wallagaraugh River Retreat, said he told his 56 guests to leave the holiday park on Sunday.
He said properties in the area had been destroyed, but most residents had already fled over the border to Eden.
“That is very, very sad, because as much as the fire out in the open has died down and is under control and in private land, you know, now the sad stories are starting to come out,” he said.
Daniel Andrews Facebook post from Bairnsdale
Orbost serving as a point of refuge
The town of Orbost, which sits between Bairnsdale and Mallacoota, is serving as the main point of refuge for people leaving some of East Gippsland’s more remote communities.
But some people remain trapped in remote communities to the north, such as Goongerah and Bonang.
Further west, a major relief centre at the Bairnsdale saleyards has been filling up with bushfire evacuees and about 250 horses.
East Gippsland Mayor John White said a backup centre may be needed at the local racecourse.
Metung told ‘we need to evacuate’
Victorian authorities have told communities to the south and south-east of the Bairnsdale complex of fires that they are under threat and should leave as soon as possible before this weekend’s weather hits.
That message was hardened by Metung CFA Captain Trevor Blundell on Thursday, who told a local meeting that the town needed to be evacuated.
“We are not safe in Metung. We are not safe in Metung. We need to evacuate this town,” he told a crowd through a speaker on one of the brigade’s trucks.
“Holidaymakers, residents, all these people in front of me looking at me, we need to leave Metung.”
More bushfire coverage:
- Live blog: Fires in NSW and Victoria still burning as communities prepare to assess damage
- Ferocious blaze rips through properties in idyllic Southern Highlands west of Sydney
- Alpine towns evacuate as firefighters deal with ‘double-edge sword’ of rain
- Bright orange, then pitch black as Qantas flight hits turbulence in fire’s cloud
- ‘Just magnificent’: Farmer fights back tears as ‘army of angels’ convoy arrives
- Eden’s wharf offered a refuge from fire, then police warned it wasn’t safe
- Farmers grapple with how to dispose of livestock killed in bushfires
- Morrison denies Facebook post an advertisement as he announces fires recovery agency
- NSW fires blanket Canberra in thick smoke, leading to orange skies and poor air quality
- Coming back from holidays? Here’s what you need to know about the Australian bushfires