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BlazeAid digs deep to help flood-ravaged Hunter communities

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With a mission to repair kilometres of fence lines and mend battered spirits, BlazeAid has established a base in the Hunter this week.

The selfless helpers will assist flood-affected communities continue to recover from the devasting July 2022 major flood event.

And, the establishment of the temporary camp in Millfield is a testament to the strong partnership between Cessnock City and Singleton councils, the NSW Reconstruction Authority and the renowned volunteer disaster recovery organisation.

BlazeAid, which offers free labour, will support landholders along the Wollombi Brook, including the villages of Broke, Fordwich, Paynes Crossing, Wollombi and Millfield.

Many of them have been significantly impacted by the floods, including being isolated for up to three-four weeks, creek bank erosion, and damage to other structures on their property.

Singleton mayor Sue Moore said the BlazeAid team provided practical solutions that made a real difference to local communities.

“As a landholder, I know first-hand that fences are one of the most essential pieces of farm infrastructure,” she explained.

“It may be more than seven months since this devastating flooding event, but the recovery efforts continue.

“There are already over 30 properties registered to receive support across the Singleton and Cessnock LGAs.

“So, I extend my heartfelt thanks to BlazeAid for providing this vital assistance in easing the burden of recovery for our residents.

“Having them here in the Hunter breathes hope into our region… the work they do helps individuals and families and, in turn, rebuilds community.”  

Cessnock City mayor Jay Suvaal was excited to welcome the group to the area.

“Our residents in the LGA, and particularly the Wollombi Valley, have suffered significantly following the floods in both March and July last year,” he said.

“Many structures were inundated, residents isolated, possessions washed away, and fences knocked down.

“We are very grateful to the volunteers of BlazeAid and the NSW Reconstruction Authority for working with us to support our community during their time of need.”

The running costs of the camp will be supported by up to $50,000 in Disaster Assistance Funding from the NSW Reconstruction Authority.

A welcome barbeque and information session for volunteers and flood-affected residents interested in receiving assistance is scheduled at the community hall at Crawfordville Park in Millfield on Friday 17 February from 6pm.

“This function provides an opportunity for residents to meet the BlazeAid volunteers and understand more about the organisation and its role in supporting the flood-impacted community,” Cr Suvaal said.

Property owners who would like assistance with fence repair or anyone who would like to donate meals, baked goods or barbeque skills for the camp can register their details with Singleton Council’s emergency management and engagement officer Kylie Wallace on 6578 7290.

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