Bushfire relief services under review

Bushfire relief services under review

2 March 2009

published by www.abc.net.au

Australia — Victoria’s Department of Human Services says it is reviewing bushfire relief services after concerns about a lack of food for residents at Kinglake West, north of Melbourne.

Emergency meals stopped being provided at Kinglake West at the weekend, causing anger among residents.

The department’s director of emergency management, Craig Lapsley, says the provision of meals has resumed and will continue until the end of the week.

“We look at a 24-hour service now and we’d hope we’d think it runs til the end of the long weekend before we review it again,” he said.

“So it will go in place for the next week and then obviously we will review it over that, so it will be in place for next weekend.”

He says the department is trying to tailor relief services to suit each community’s needs.

“You can see the size of this event has seen that relief issues are in for longer and need to be more focused, so I think that’s a lesson out of this to say that it’s not the normal event and we need sure that things are appropriate for the community,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Victorian Government says it is investigating concern that there is not enough potable water for fire-affected people in the Kinglake area.

Kinglake West resident Leesa Burton says people are being forced to wash their clothes and dishes in contaminated water, and it is causing gastroenteritis.

Water Minister Tim Holding says the Government has been working closely with the Murrindindi Shire to get safe and reliable water supplies to people who need them.

“Yarra Valley Water and their staff have being doing a fantastic job to provide a clean, safe water supply to these communities,” he said.

“They’ve been reaching many many houses as well as providing a centralised water distribution system for a community that is not on a reticulated water supply.”

Counselling service

The Victorian Government is being urged to fund a counselling service that has been helping bushfire survivors.

GriefLine has been refused state and federal funding, and may have to close.

The Government has been promoting the service following the bushfires.

The State Opposition says the Government should offer financial support but the Government says it funds other grief services.

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