SAES teams prepared to activate for nation's emergencies
14 January 2022
For Australians, the summer season also means disaster season. Ever alert to the possibility of bushfire, flood, storm or cyclone disrupting lives, the last few summers have been worse than most. With the full spectrum of large scale-emergencies happening from coast-to-coast Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) were activated – often for long periods of time – providing meals, refreshments and care to impacted residents.
The current season has seen several short activations around the country – particularly with the onset of sudden flooding overwhelming townships before receding. SAES teams are prepared for these moments and swiftly leap into action any time of the day or night for as long as they’re needed.
A recent torrential downpour in Victoria saw about 100 residents around the town of Creswick temporarily displaced from their homes and taking refuge at the local sports club. SAES teams promptly responded, providing bedding and breakfast for those taking shelter.
Speaking to the Ballarat Courier, Salvo Craig Farrell, who was coordinating the SAES team’s response, said that many of the most vulnerable in the community were also the most impacted by the sudden deluge.
“It’s just terrible,” he said to the Ballart Courier journalist who described Craig as a ‘Knight in fluorescent armour’. “Down-to-earth, salt-of-the-earth people, and a lot of elderly people [were affected].”
The flooding situation around the Fraser Coast and Gympie areas is keeping SAES teams on high alert as they await calls to activate. In the meantime, however, local Salvos have collected pre-prepared frozen meals, towels, toiletries and clothes and provided them to the evacuation centre for those who are displaced.
As the situation continues to evolve, additional initiatives are being explored for ways SAES teams can provide support during community clean-up efforts.
“This summer season has been another time that has been so different for us under the impact of COVID-19,” says Salvation Army Strategic Emergency and Disaster Management General Manager Drew Ruthven.
“On top of COVID are the disasters that affect so many of us in Australia regularly, this year has been a trying time for us all. SAES teams continue to be ready and willing to help in situations that test us as a community.
“We are grateful for the support we receive to help us respond when and wherever we can. We always hope for a quiet season when it comes to disasters, but we are ready to respond, as we can, when needed.”