2019/20 Bushfire Season Response

Convoy of Hope is actively responding to the 2019-2020 Australian Bushfire season devastation.
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August 31, 2020 | 4:00 P.M.

8 months on…

What we experienced as we travelled back to Conjola 8 months after the community was devastated by the New Years Eve fires was both hope-filled and heart-breaking. Let me explain…

Hope-filled, as we experienced signs of new life everywhere. New houses being built, new children’s playgrounds established and signs of life as ‘vibrant green’ sprouted from both the ground and trees alike.

Heartbreaking, as we were confronted by the fragility of locals who are battling on, but obviously affected with post-traumatic stress and trauma-related issues. I mean, even those who didn’t lose property, still faced the life-threat of out-of-control fires and the grief of a community that once was, and will never be the same again.

And then we met Ash, Julie and Bob! A hope-filled trio putting together a documentary that would recount stories and use their creativity to bring hope and healing to their community. Out of the ashes, locals restoring healing to locals. Wow.

What was overwhelmingly obvious to us, was the opportunity Convoy of Hope has, to bring continued support and care when many others organisations have moved on. There was a ‘trusted space’ we were given as first responders and we desire to steward that sacred space with a genuine heart to serve the community until we are no longer needed. Our goal is to be a part of helping establish the community to health and by assisting to make the community liveable again.

So our commitment to Conjola is to keep serving in ways that see them re-established and thriving again.

JULY 23, 2020 | 8:00 A.M.

SYDNEY — The Australian team delivered 5,000 plants to schools across the state of New South Wales this week as the Regrow Conjola Response resumes. The schools participating welcomed the sprouts with open arms, and the students were quite excited to meet their new class project. Those plants are in great hands!

We will continue to check in with the schools until the natives are ready to be transported to the Conjola area. The project will see a total of 15,000 tubestock cared for, nurtured and planted into pots and delivered to residents of Conjola and surrounds in November 2020, May 2021 and November 2021.

Click here to learn more about the Regrow Conjola Response.

APRIL 3, 2020 | 7:00 A.M.

SYDNEY — Convoy of Hope staff have recently been quarantined to their homes as a part of a nationwide “Stay At Home” measure in Australia.

Because of the rising needs associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, our team has placed the Regrow Conjola Response on hold for at least the next month. The response will start back up operations once the global pandemic ends, and they can once again focus their efforts on helping communities affected by the bush fires.

MARCH 23, 2020 | 2:00 P.M.

SYDNEY — Here is the most up-to-date information Convoy of Hope has to share regarding our response to the wildfires in Australia.

Lake Conjola Area
We have resourced the Conjola recovery team with some camping gear to assist in their efforts of restoring rural property fences and gates destroyed by the fires. They also established a working group that will direct and facilitate the Regrow Conjola project. Their goal is to bring more school, businesses, volunteer groups, local governments, and even national parks into the program, all while assisting local nurseries through the purchase of tube stock and gardening supplies.
Our team helped provide a full day of learning to eight groups of children (approximately 20 in each group) on bushfire disaster, evacuation, and recovery. These children will be a part of the Regrow Conjola program.

We connected with a local ACC (Australian Christian Churches) church in Merimbula that has been tirelessly serving communities through the distribution of supplies, evacuation center support, and chaplaincy support to the ambulance service. They have also recently established a fund to support local businesses through a local gift voucher program.

MARCH 6, 2020 | 11:00 A.M.

SYDNEY — Here is the most up-to-date information Convoy of Hope has to share regarding our response to the wildfires in Australia.

  • Families served: 946
  • Individuals served: 2,460
  • Masks distributed: 12,280
  • Hygiene kits distributed: 100
  • Churches, organizations & operational partners: 10
  • Communities served: 7

Convoy of Hope is continually working on the Regrow Conjola Project. The team has partnered with eight schools so far, and each have altered their curriculum for the remainder of the year to help with this project.

Additionally, with all the fires now out, a team will be visiting several communities in the south of Australia, as well as drought-affected areas, to see what needs Convoy of Hope can help address.

FEBRUARY 7, 2020 | 9:00 A.M.

SYDNEY — The team drove back to Lake Conjola and attended a meeting regarding ongoing needs in the community. In this area, a partnership is being formed that allows school students in the Sydney area to grow plants all year long. These plants will then be gifted to fire-affected communities for residents’ gardens.

Thankfully, a lot of rain has fallen in many areas that have not received rain in a very long time. This has been a great help in the areas affected by fires and drought. Unfortunately, this has caused flooding in a few areas, so the team is also assessing how Convoy of Hope can serve these areas.

JANUARY 31, 2020 | 4:00 P.M.

SYDNEY — Another 3,750 masks were sent to a partner in Bateman’s Bay this week. These will be distributed through the Rural Fire Service across a number of communities in that area. In addition to masks, the Eurobodalla Council reached out and requested storage containers to store relief supplies, similar to the intervention previously provided in Lake Conjola.

JANUARY 21, 2020 | 8:00 A.M.

SYDNEY  Assessments continue across communities affected by the bushfires. Many of the areas are still completely cut off by the flames.

In addition to the fires, a rare thunderstorm came through the eastern shore and caused flooding and tree damage. Convoy of Hope assisted with some of the cleanups. The rain is still needed in much of the area, so overall it is welcome. Many of the drought-affected communities — who have not seen much of any rain in the last 3 years — also received rain.

JANUARY 17, 2020 | 9:00 A.M.

SYDNEY — January 17, 2020 The team returned from a trip to one of the affected areas along the southeast coast. This location, Lake Conjola, is where the majority of our assistance has been provided so far.

Yesterday, the winds shifted and again caused smoke to fill many coastal communities as fires continue in more than 100 locations. However, many of the extremely dry areas received a considerable amount of rain over the last two days. This is one of the more significant rainfalls in the past few years.

Doors continue to open with new relationships in other affected areas, and plans are being put into place on how to best serve those locations. Due to the generosity of Australians, water and food needs are at a minimum. However, the team is preparing for when global attention dies down and needs that are currently met will be unmet. Convoy of Hope is ready to assist families who have lost their homes — more than 2,200 now — throughout the recovery process in the coming years.

The team is working to secure storage space for inbound donations and will work to have a container sent from the U.S. to supplement product being given in country.

JANUARY 15, 2020 | 4:00 P.M.

SYDNEY  Three containers have been secured and are set up in two areas where relief supplies have been contributed, but there is no storage to hold items for families in the upcoming weeks as they sort through the remains of their property.

Additionally, 9,000 masks have been distributed to areas where smoke is making the air quality too low for breathing.

JANUARY 14, 2020 | 10:00 A.M.

SYDNEY  More than 100 fires continue to burn across Australia, and 36 of them are out of control. Smoke continues to affect the air quality in Sydney and many other coastal communities. More than 2,100 homes have been destroyed. A new Convoy of Hope team being deployed to the area is bringing gear bags, including masks with respirators and solar lanterns.

JANUARY 9, 2020 | 12:00 P.M.

SYDNEY — Convoy of Hope has delivered relief supplies to communities recently devastated by bushfires. Fire season is far from over, and today was expected to be another catastrophic day as dry conditions and high winds persist.

In addition to immediately providing basic relief supplies, the Disaster Services team will be supporting operations there, with additional staff travelling to Australia and arriving at the beginning of next week.

JANUARY 8, 2020 | 10:00 A.M.

SYDNEY — Australia has suffered from fires since September of last year. However, more than 130 fires have occurred since December 20 alone. To date, 15 million acres have been destroyed. The country has deployed 3,000 Army reservists — along with their largest naval vessel — to help evacuate residents from the coast. The U.S. and Canada have also sent fire fighting teams to Australia to aid in efforts. Nearly 70 fires are still uncontained and expected to rage for the next few months.

To put the situation into perspective, Australia’s fires are seven times larger than the ones California experienced in 2017. Metropolitan areas cities such as Sydney and Canberra have set record temperatures recently, reaching as high as 120 degrees. Once-blue skies are being replaced with smoke and ash.

Convoy of Hope already has staff on the ground to aid victims of this disaster with relief supplies. Additional team members are deploying soon to help areas that need it most.

Please join us in praying for the people of Australia and our team members.

Want to learn more about our global Disaster Services Program


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