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District 9790 Bushfire Recovery Newsletter No 3 June 30, 2020

Hello Rotarians and friends
As we prepare for a new Rotary year and celebrate the achievements of clubs during 2019-2020, District Bushfire Recovery Projects continue to be ratified; some completed while others are in various stages of planning and implementation. 


Mark Lucey and Nick Shaw, Corporate
Services Manager Alpine Health
A project of the Rotary Clubs of Mount Beauty, Myrtleford and Bright has been
successfully completed thanks to the additional financial support from the Rotary Clubs of Heidelberg,
Yarrawonga-Mulwala, Freemantle WA and the District Bushfire Recovery Fund.
Forty-five air purifiers have been delivered to Myrtleford for distribution to hospitals and aged care facilities in the region.
Mark Lucey, President of the Rotary Club of Myrtleford reported;  “The success of this project showcases that a collaborative approach between clubs and district can deliver far greater scale than the initial concept ever anticipated.”


The Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges has provided another semi-trailer load of dairy pellets for distribution to farmers in the Upper Murray.


All fifteen shipping containers (provided by District 9800 at a cost of only $500/container to our district) have been delivered to Upper Murray property owners.  Another twenty one containers organised through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) are expected to be delivered on the weekend of July 11-12.


The Walwa Bush Nursing Centre, which provides community health and well-being services for the Walwa and Jingellic area, suffered fire damage to the kitchen and cool room as mentioned in a previous newsletter.  The Rotary Club of Heidelberg, with assistance from the Rotary Club of Ivanhoe and the Bushfire Recovery Fund will fund this project.


At the height of the bushfires in January, the town of Cudgewa suffered greatly.  The loss of the power supply and a lack of water hampered the Cudgewa Fire Brigade’s ability to contain and extinguish the fires surrounding the town.  Property loss resulted.  The Rotary Clubs of Rosanna and Mooroopna are assisting the community of Cudgewa to be better prepared in the future.   A 130,000 water tank and a diesel generator will be provided to ensure a permanent water and electricity supply.


The Blaze Aid camp at Tooma has continued to operate, where hundreds of kilometres of fencing is to be removed and rebuilt.  The volunteer fencers are predominately overseas back packers, so the camp has remained active during the COVID pandemic. The camp has been supported by the Rotary Clubs of Albury North and Holbrook.  The District Bushfire Fund has assisted with the purchase of warm clothing and protective gear, for the volunteers, who were ill-prepared for the extreme winter conditions of the area.       
The Uniting Church fencing team in Cudgewa and a Blaze Aid team in both Jingellic and Corryong have recommenced after the COVID -19 break.
The Rotary Club of Tallangatta provided funds for a fencing team over the long weekend in June.


The District Bushfire Fund will financially support the Corryong FoodShare Services, which has been stretched as a result of the increasing number of clients from the Upper Murray requiring their assistance for food parcels, clothing, linen, blankets, furniture, white goods and water pods.


Beautiful handmade quilts, donated by the Cobram Quilters have been delivered to the Rotary Club of Corryong for distribution.
John Anders, Melissa Dally (RC Corryong), Raynor Thomas and Trish Anders (Cobram Quilters)
Marg Crisp (AG Group 9) at Colac Colac Caravan Park
Matching grants for Upper Murray projects are available for clubs in D9790 to work with a club in D9800. 
Possible project discussions are currently taking place. 
PDG Bernie Bott, Chairman
District 9790 Bushfire Recovery Committee

Report on the first three months of recovery activity

As I write this newsletter, we are all experiencing the severe restrictions imposed on us during this COVID-19 pandemic as governments attempt to curtail the spread of the virus.  I hope all readers are safe and coping with the self-isolation rules.
It is three months since devastating bushfires tore through more than 300,000 hectares in the Upper Murray region of North-Eastern Victoria.  Located in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains, this scenic region is one of rolling hills and deep valleys, farms and wide pastures.  Over 18,000 head of stock were lost in the fires and many more were sent to market as thousands of kilometeres of fencing were destroyed and containment of stock was impossible. 
Frightening fires raged around the Towong Shire towns of Walwa and Corryong - both were saved.  Smaller towns including Cudgewa, Berringama, Jingellic, Tooma, Towong and Colac Colac and the valley communities of Nariel, Biggara and Thowgla suffered extensive damage. 
Many communities were isolated for weeks as access was severely limited; hence, help was slow to arrive.  The Salvation Army recently received another 258 registrations for help from families in need, highlighting the time it has taken for some to reach out for assistance while dealing with shock and devastation.  More than fifty primary residences and around 150 other buildings have been destroyed.  Many more were damaged by the thick smoke that accompanied the flames and gale force winds. 


Fencing projects were an early priority to help contain stock.  Teams at Corryong, organised by the Rotary Club of Belvoir Wodonga, provided 600 volunteers and approximately 1,500 hours of work over a five-week period. 130 farmers were assisted.
The Uniting Church Fencing Team at Cudgewa with the support of 60 volunteers, has completed 2,000 hours of volunteer work, erecting 35 kilometres of fencing while assisting 30 farmers.  More work is to be done.
BlazeAid Corryong teams and 398 volunteers, led by coordinator Bill Gerritsen (Rotary Club of Appin Park) have cleared more than 140 kilometres of burnt fencing and completed 78.5 kilometres of new fencing. 193 farmers have registered for assistance.
BlazeAid also had fencing camps at Tooma and Jingellic and more work is to be done there also.  More than 100 farmers have registered for assistance.
Many Rotarians from clubs throughout the district have worked with the fencing teams and  reported that it was an amazing and worthwhile experience.  Currently fencing work has ceased during this period of self-isolation.


Truckloads of hay, organised by district 9790 rotary clubs, have regularly made their way to needy farmers in the Upper Murray, as previously mentioned in Bushfire Recovery Updates.  
A recent delivery of 22 pallets of dairy pellet feed has been made to Corryong suppliers for distribution to needy farmers.  Forty five farmers have each received 15 bags of pellets, with more to follow to others in need.
Geoff Dinning has been co-ordinating the fodder and pellet feed projects.


All students attending the Corryong Catholic and P-12 Government School (340) were provided with a Back to School Pack of books and stationary, while 38 year seven students also received a computer to start the school year.  This project, at a cost of $59,150 has been completed, thanks to donations from rotary clubs and individuals.


With the loss of homes and other buildings there has been an urgent need for shipping containers.  The Victorian Transport Authority originally promised to make containers available, but unfortunately that offer did not materialise.  An adjoining rotary district 9800 - generously offered to provide 15 containers (at a cost to them - D9800 - of $3,500 - $4,000 per container) for distribution in our district at a cost to our district of only $500 for each container - a wonderful contribution to our Bushfire Recovery. 
To date seven containers have arrived in Corryong for distribution and more will follow.  Those in need of containers have been identified and assistance will be given to position them on properties.


The Rotary Clubs of Myrtleford, Mt Beauty and Bright are working on a project to provide air purifiers in the Myrtleford, Bright and Mt Beauty Hospitals. Details of this project were provided in the last Bushfire Recovery Update.  Mark Lucey, president of the Rotary Club of Mount Beauty, is co-ordinating this program.
Members from the Rotary Club of Corryong assisted by many  D9790 clubs, have been working tirelessly over the three months with their communities, assisting in the clean-up process. Their catering team has provided services at many community activities such as the recent All Stars football match at Cudgewa and the Family Day at Khancoban Dam.  They have provided amazing support for their communities and in turn have been supported by Rotarians from many clubs throughout the district.
With the assistance of an Appin Park Rotarian, students at FCJ College Benalla have been matched with students from the P-12 College Corryong to create student partnerships.
A Facebook request from students in Numurkah for books resulted in a wonderful collection of both children and adult books.  They were delivered to Corryong and distributed to the pre-school, schools and nursing home as well as the primary school in Walwa.
The Rotary Club of Belvoir Wodonga organised health and wellbeing evenings with Dennis Hoiberg, at Corryong and Tintaldra.  Seventy five people attended.
I wish all Rotarians and friends good health during these extremely difficult times as we try different ways to connect and support one another.
PDG Bernie Bott, Chairman
District 9790 Bushfire Recovery Committee
After a meeting of all Australia District Governors, it has been decided to suspend the Youth Exchange Program for 12 months nationally in all formats. 
This will mean there will be no inbound students arriving from overseas in July/August 2020, and there will be no outbound students in January 2021. 
We are hoping, depending on the COVID-19 situation, that we may be able to accept inbound students again in July/August 2021, and our next group of outbounds will be in January 2022. 
We appreciate the decision of the DGs and it is in the best interest of not only the program, but also all people associated with this truly life changing youth program of Rotary International. 
Stay safe and well
Yours in Rotary
Bruce McIntyre, Chairman, District 9790 Youth Exchange
March 25th, 2020
District Governor Brian Peters (D9790) has implemented a Bushfire Recovery Commitee (BRC) to oversee potential activities to assist the Upper Murray communities affected by the recent fires.
The role of the Committee is to meet and speak with the various communities to establish what assistance they require; this in light of the fact that it is a different set of circumstances to the Black Friday fires of 2009, as no public buildings have been affected in these fires.
We are to liaise with the local Rotary Clubs and determine what support/actions they can provide, or what assistance they may require going forward.
To this end, PP Geoff Dinning has the role of Project Co-ordinator. Geoff will record all nominated projects for discussion by the committee. The recommendations of prospective projects would come from the committee members who have had frequent visits to the fire-affected areas as well as local Rotary Clubs and local Communities.
All projects with final costings, forwarded by the Project Co-ordinator, will be discussed by the BRC committee. Upon final agreement of which projects are to be adopted, they will be forwarded to the District Governor of the day for their final approval. Only projects that have been considered by the BRC will be approved, no third party endorsements outside of this will be considered unless instructed by the District Governor.
A report of all approved projects, and status of completion, will be forwarded to the next and future District 9790 Board of Management Committee meetings.                                                         
To assist PP Rosemary Freeman (secretary) to create a regular newsletter, we need feedback from Clubs and Rotarians on new projects and or information on completed projects. The newsletter will provide to the DG, District Clubs, a complete picture of the Upper Murray region bushfire recovery.
Chairman Bushfire Recovery Committee
Bernie Bott PDG.
District Conference 2021
We are planning District 9790 Conference 2021
Wangaratta March 18-21
details : 
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