Monday, February 26, 2024

Evacuation centre delay “unfathomable”

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The collective community recovery committees in the Upper Murray have taken the Towong Shire Council to task over the lack of action in establishing evacuation centres in Corryong, more than four years after the devastating 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires.

At the October meeting of the Upper Murray Community Recovery Committee (UMCRC), there was discussion around the lack of clarity for emergency procedures in the town and district, in particular the location of the evacuation/relief centres in Corryong.

Subsequently, a letter endorsed by all ten local recovery committees was sent to Towong’s Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committee (MEMPC) requesting that action be taken over the issue.

In part, it said “There is anxiety in the Upper Murray community about the location of the evacuation centre, the inadequacies of the current centre – some of which have been addressed since Black Summer – and there are now four locations in Corryong that could be used for various aspects of evacuation/relief.

“Our understanding is that the location of the evacuation/relief centre is currently at the ECA Centre at Corryong College.

“Immediately postfires and at any meeting or gathering the community holds, this issue has been raised and continues to be of major concern.

“Coming up to four years after the fires, the fact that this is still such an issue is unfathomable.

“We feel that attempts from the agencies to address the community concerns have been inadequate and have failed to address this major issue.”

“We look forward to seeing some positive action on this matter prior to the 2023-2024 summer period begins”

The issue was raised again in an email to council last week which criticised the lack of response to the CRCs’ letter.

“This issue has been an ongoing concern of the community since the Black Summer fires,” said Cathy Ross, Chair Corryong CRC.

“At every attempt to seek public clarification there has been stalling and lack of response.

“This is not a courteous way to deal with major issues affecting a bushfire traumatised community.

“Please treat this matter as urgent and show us the courtesy of an appropriate response.

“We are now well into the 2023-24 bushfire season and no one is any better informed.”

Corryong Courier 1 February 2024

This article appeared in the Corryong Courier, 1 February 2024.

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