ABOVE: BlazeAid volunteers Jenny Neumann with Chris and John Male in Casino. Photo: Susanna Freymark
The BlazeAid volunteers who rebuild fences after fire and flood need a new camp.
For more than two years, BlazeAid has been based at the Casino Showgrounds.
But they need to leave as work on an upgrade at the showgrounds begins.
Casino camp coordinator Chris Male said they have been asked to vacate for six months while capital works are done.
“Our problem, at least at the moment, is we have nowhere to go,” Chris said.
“We have spoken to some prospective sites but have not been able to secure a definite site.”
The charity organisation came to Casino after the 2019 bushfires. There was a time the charity had to leave during covid lockdowns but came back as soon as possible to continue the support.
Since the floods, 386 properties have registered as needing help.
110 properties are completed.
BlazeAid has built almost 95km of fences in the past six months.
Another 129km of fences have been cleaned and cleared of debris.
The volunteers came from all over Australia and set up home at the showgrounds in camper trailers and motor homes.
“We face all sorts of challenges ranging from the weather itself, volunteer shortages and having to relocate our camp to another venue,” Chris said.
“There is still a tremendous need for assistance and support – people are still coming forward, people are still slipping through the cracks and not getting the support we all want to give them and people are losing hope.”
The BlazeAid volunteers do more than rebuild fences, Chris said.
“We talk with people, cry with them and work beside them. Where do they turn, who do they turn too?”
“I had the most devastating experience last week of asking a 12 year old lad what could I do for him to help him feel better. He asked for a proper meal. How can this situation have developed? No stove working in the home and no facility to cook a proper meal.
“I can talk underwater with a mouth full of marbles but I was struck dumb.
“How can a kid be craving a meal six months after a disaster with the resources this country has?
“Millions of dollars in Government aid, millions of dollars in donated funds and this child wants a proper meal.”
If you can help BlazeAid with a new home, call Chris on 0418 745 994.
“I have watched the floods in India and Pakistan on the TV and felt so sorry for those folk. It is awful, but please be aware that there is still overwhelming loss, grief and despair in the Northern Rivers area here in our own country.”