Many people across East Gippsland have been able to return to their homes since 5 January due to the opening of the main roads and safer conditions due to three days of rainfall. Although one Filipino has lost her home, and another lost her holiday property, two others have sustained serious damage to their farm.
Filipino community leaders from Melbourne have have visited the region in recent days to meet with the community, assess their needs and deliver goods.
Help needed for 21 Filipinos in Mallacoota
The Philippine Times has been in contact with a Filipino community leader, Sally Fenn from Mallacoota. 21 Filipinos remain there, as they opted to stay and protect their homes rather than evacuate to Melbourne. Food relief has been sent to the town from Filipinos in Bairnsdale. A grocery store and pharmacy have re-opened but have limited supplies. Power is also limited in the town, and those with generators are now running out of gas.
Filipinos in Mallacoota are in need of nappies, baby formula, ventolin, smoke masks and non-perishable food.
Community leaders in East Gippsland recommend coordinating with Filipino organisations in Melbourne to organise delivery of these goods.
Filipinos around Lakes Entrance have lost work
Rowena Mills, chairperson of the Filipino Community in Bairnsdale has informed The Philippine Times, that she is concerned for the large number of Filipinos working in and around Lakes Entrance who currently do not have any work, and have not worked for more than a week.
Although the town survived the bushfires, it’s feared that this significant loss of income will continue, as businesses rely heavily on the tourism industry during the peak summer. holiday season.
Around 60 Filipinos in this town are potentially impacted by not receiving any income due to the closure of their workplaces.
Mills suggests that these Filipino families will need financial assistance, particularly gift vouchers that will enable them to purchase groceries in Woolworths, Coles and ALDI.
She also believes this would encourage spending in the local community.
Mills also hopes to organise a fundraising event for the volunteer firefighters to be held in Lakes Entrance before summer ends.
An increase in visitors would help the town recover its tourism economy and hospitality industry. More information will be published as we are informed.
How you can help:
Filipino community organisations in Victoria have started appeal for cash donations to support Filipinos affected by the bushfires through the following options:
1) GAWAD KALINGA/CAFOVI
Cash donations made to GK Australia are fully tax deductible:
National Australia Bank
BSB: 083 004
Acct No.: 74 477 1799
Acct Name: Gawad Kalinga Australia
Use your Surname as reference.
2) FCCVI (Filipino Community Council of Victoria Inc.)
Cash donations can be deposited directly into the FCCVI Charity Account:
Account No.: 1098 4645
Community Enterprise Foundation (State Government Approved)
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has requested for people to show their support through cash initiatives. He has asked for the community to remain vigilant, and ensure they are not scammed.
The Community Enterprise Foundation (a partnership with the Salvation Army & Bendigo Bank). Donations are tax deductible accepted at any Bendigo Bank or Online via: https://www.communityenterprisefoundation.com.au/make-a-donation/
Non-Perishable Goods are still needed
For those interested in donating in kind non-perishable goods to meet the needs of Filipinos affected by the bushfire, please contact:
- Marlon De Leon of FCCVI: 0413 267 448
- Marisa Vedar of CAFOVI & Gawad Kalinga: 0425 831 673
- Rowena Hansen of The Womens Association: 0433 462 805
Filipinos in Melbourne have already organised a collection and drop off of goods to firefighters and Australian families in East Gippsland.
It is expected that existing fires can threaten the region in the coming weeks. Residents in the region are reminded by the Victorian State Emergency Service to heed their warnings on their Vic Emergency website, app, and Facebook page, as conditions can be unpredictable in the Summer bushfire season.
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