Mid West volunteers in focus after Cyclone Seroja

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Liam BeattyMidwest Times
SES volunteers clean up cyclone debris in Kalbarri.
Camera IconSES volunteers clean up cyclone debris in Kalbarri. Credit: Supplied

On the ground just three hours after Cyclone Seroja devastated the region, State Emergency Services volunteers have played a vital role in efforts to return a sense of normalcy to the region.

Often working 12-hour days over the past six weeks, Kalbarri SES manager and 45-year veteran volunteer Steve Cable said it has been an “insane” recovery effort and he was proud of his team.

“The place is finally starting to look close to being back to normal,” he said. “This had brought the community back together and highlighted just how much we rely on our volunteers.”

This week, as part of National Volunteer Week people are being encouraged to mix up their wardrobe choices for the annual Wear Orange Wednesday — a day to raise awareness of the volunteers who keep communities safe during natural disasters and emergencies.

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Kalbarri State Emergency Services manager Steve Cable.
Camera IconKalbarri State Emergency Services manager Steve Cable. Credit: Supplied

For Mr Cable, the day is important to recognise the essential services volunteers offer to their communities and, hopefully encourage others to sign up.

“We were able to get out a few hours after the cyclone hit here around 8pm and start surveying the damage,” he said.

“What we didn’t really expect was seeing people walking around the streets basically shell-shocked. We’re the first responders in these situations, it just shows how important it was for us to just be out and talking to people.”

The Kalbarri team has recently finished emergency repairs to the 70 per cent of homes damaged during the storm — in the time since they’ve responded to about 1400 requests for assistance.

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