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Bringing Hope in the Wake of Australian Bushfires

 

 

Record-breaking high temperatures, strong winds, and years of drought have stirred intense bushfires in Australia, killing at least 25 people across the country, destroying more than 2,200 homes, and scorching more than 10 million hectares of land. The fires began in September and have spread across 131 regions of Australia.

Over the past week Samaritan’s Purse disaster response teams have been assessing bushfire-affected areas in Victoria and New South Wales, and more volunteers are arriving this week to help with the clean-up and recovery process.

SAMARITAN’S PURSE VOLUNTEERS ARE WORKING HARD TO ASSIST HOMEOWNERS IN AUSTRALIA.

A team of eight disaster response volunteers arrived from Samaritan’s Purse Canada to assist the Australian team with logistics, administration, and the physical work of helping homeowners and families who have been affected by the fires. Three crisis-trained Canadian Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are also in Australia to help Australian chaplains provide spiritual and emotional aid to people who have lost their homes and possessions to catastrophic bushfires.

Rob Rolley, our disaster response program manager in Victoria said, “Hundreds of families have been impacted by the bushfire; the needs are very compelling for the many people in distress. We are working together with local churches, government organisations, and community groups to help and provide hope in the midst of this disaster.”

Samaritan’s Purse teams will be cleaning properties, clearing fence lines, removing debris, and helping homeowners start to rebuild their lives again in Jesus’ Name.

Assisting Since the Beginning of the Bushfires

Within a week of the initial outbreak, the Samaritan’s Purse Australia disaster relief team was offering help and support to the communities of Stanthorpe and Beau Desert, Queensland.

“We have had a team on the ground for the past three months, helping families affected by the bushfires in Queensland and most recently in New South Wales,” said Dave Ingram, Executive Director of Samaritan’s Purse Australia/New Zealand. “We’re grateful to all our Samaritan’s Purse volunteers who have undertaken the huge task of assisting homeowners [to] clear properties and to start the journey of rebuilding their lives.”

Dozens of deadly fires continue to blaze in the state of New South Wales as of 2 Jan., making international headlines. This state is Australia’s most densely populated region, and the emergency has been ongoing there since mid-December. The fires have caused record heat around the suburbs of Sydney, with temperatures reported over 42 degrees Celsius.

From Horrendous to Uplifting

Earlier this year, an uncontrollable fire forced residents of Stanthorpe, Queensland to evacuate their homes. When Diane and Archie Mitchell returned, they found the home they were renovating completely destroyed.

“It was horrendous, frightening, devastating to come home to, but by the same token we tried to stay positive,” Diane said.

CHAINSAW WORK IS NEEDED TO CLEAR PROPERTIES AND REMOVE DEBRIS.

The Mitchells were one of four families in Stanthorpe who lost a home. It was completely destroyed along with their vehicles, a shed, tools, furniture, and more.

A team of Samaritan’s Purse staff and volunteers spent two days on the Mitchell’s property clearing wreckage; helping in Jesus’ Name.

“I couldn’t tell you how uplifting it was for us,” Diane said. “My husband went down and joined in…It was really beautiful.”

Diane and Archie also received a Samaritan’s Purse fire recovery kit, which contains personal protective equipment, a shovel, hammer, and other tools. This kit included items the Mitchells had lost in the fire, and aided them in clearing the property and finding salvageable items.

Diane was incredibly grateful for the work of Samaritan’s Purse staff and volunteers. She stated on Facebook: “The wonderful Samaritan’s Purse Australia crew came to our aid to start the clean-up process. Can’t thank these guys enough. We will never forget you.”

Please Pray for Families Affected by the Fires

Samaritan’s Purse Australia continues to serve as the bushfires burn.

Dan Stephens, their Disaster Response Manager, said, “With so many fires around the country, as soon as our response teams finish in one area, we are immediately moving on to the next community.

PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR FAMILIES STRUGGLING IN THE AFTERMATH OF THESE DEVASTATING FIRES. PRAY FOR OUR VOLUNTEERS AS THEY DEMONSTRATE GOD’S LOVE AND COMPASSION.

“In the aftermath of so much loss…we just want to bring hope and support to families as they begin to see a way forward.”

Executive Director Dave Ingram also added, “Please join us as we pray for the families who have lost so much and for our team as we respond, that we can bring hope amidst this disaster.”

If you would like to financially support this response, please click below.

 

 

Watch the video below to see the impact of these fires on homeowners, and how Samaritan’s Purse volunteers have been able to help.