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Seniors Action: Monthly lunch hears from Red Cross recovery and resilience officer

Jan WennekesMidwest Times
Guest speaker Matthew  Moore, of the Red Cross, and committee president Lina Mittoni.
Camera IconGuest speaker Matthew Moore, of the Red Cross, and committee president Lina Mittoni. Credit: Jan Wennekes

Red Cross recovery and resilience officer Matthew Moore was the guest speaker at this month’s lunch meeting, providing insight into his role created after the destruction caused by cyclone Seroja in 2021.

Mr Moore’s position has been funded for two years by the Commonwealth-State disaster recovery funding arrangements. Cyclone Seroja hubs have been set up in the Mid West to support the social wellbeing of people who have been affected by the April 2021 natural disaster.

The hubs provide locally based support to the community and play an invaluable role in the State’s recovery efforts. They are in Morawa, Kalbarri, Northampton and Geraldton, in addition to regular pop-up hubs in Mingenew, Nabawa, Yuna, Mullewa and Perenjori. Recovery specialists from the Deparmentt of Fire and Emergency Services, Department of Communities and the Red Cross staff the hubs.

The damage left behind by Seroja was extensive and widespread — 32,000 homes lost power, 16 local government areas had damage, and 2270 properties were destroyed. Many people are still struggling after 16 months.

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Three agencies provide support through this process. DFES manages the interface between local governments, agencies and the community by supporting the community through the recovery process, and helping people access external services and many other services.

The Department of Communities provides emergency accommodation, food, financial assistance and personal support, including mental health.

The Australian Red Cross provides psychosocial support for the community through outreach, community events and the recovery hubs. It facilitates recovery training and resilience workshops, and connects informal community leaders with services, contacts and information.

Education is important, and the Pillow Case Program has started with children, which was an idea that came from hurricane Katrina. If there is the possibility of evacuation, then items could be quickly placed in a pillowcase as a ready plan.

Mr Moore said it was a good idea for everyone to prepare for a cyclone and have important papers such as insurance, licences, bank details, family addresses and phone numbers on hand.

This information session was just a start, and Mr Moore will return at some point with more advice for our members. Contact midwestrecovery@redcross.org.au.

There were 33 in attendance at the August meeting, with 10 apologies. Members were welcomed by president Lina Mittoni, and card raffles were won by Pat Parker and Sonny King.

The winner of the September free lunch will be Lorraine Brand. Birthdays were announced for the month and happy birthday sung. Minutes were read and endorsed and reports from the treasurer, publicity, bowls, darts, table tennis and cards were given. All results from the two upcoming bowls competitions will be in next month’s issue.

The menu was crumbed fish, mashed potato, steamed broccoli and carrots, followed by apple strudel, ice-cream and fresh fruit.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY:

Lunch meeting: September 13 with morning tea at 10am.

Afternoon bowls tournament: August 29 at 12.30pm (three games).

Sending our deepest sympathy to those who have lost a loved one recently and also best wishes to members coping with illness at present.

Jan Wennekes is a committee member of the Geraldton & Districts Senior Citizens Action Group

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