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Community Recovery
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Buchan Boxing Day Storm 2023

Flash flooding in Buchan on the evening of 26 December 2023 has been devastating for the Buchan community and people holidaying in the area.

Reports of 100-180mm of rain was recorded, and almost 70mm in 30 minutes on Boxing Day.

There were two fatalities, and significant local damage to both private and public infrastructure.

Police reported that emergency services were called to Cave Road just after 5pm on the day after reports of flash flooding. Police were told vehicles in the Buchan Caves Reserve campground area were submerged and a number of people were safely retrieved from a nearby bridge.

Council established a relief centre at the Lucknow Recreation Reserve (Bairnsdale) to receive people transferred from Buchan by bus.

The Buchan township is open for business, however, Buchan Caves Reserve remains closed.

Information below last updated 5 January 2024.

Storm recovery update meeting - Monday 8 January

We hosted a Boxing Day storm recovery update meeting on Monday, January 8, for the Buchan community.

  • 9am
  • Buchan Community Hall

The meeting was held in conjunction with the Buchan, Gelantipy & Districts Renewal Association and included response and recovery updates from us and other key agencies.

Assessing the impact

One of Council’s roles is to complete secondary-impact assessments. These assessments started last week and 26 have been undertaken across households, farms, businesses, and community, education and health facilities. In some of these cases, residents and businesses have been referred to support agencies.

Farming impacts have mainly been fencing and paddock damage, some stock loss, and track and road access.

Most residents are getting on with their own clean-up, which has been supported by Council through free waste disposal and septic tank inspection and pumping.

Business support

Members of our Economic Development team were in Buchan on Thursday 4 January to visit businesses and attend the BTA meeting.

We continue to work with our marketing partners, including East Gippsland Marketing Inc and Destination Gippsland to promote visitation to Buchan.

Roads and public infrastructure

Most public roads and infrastructure have been inspected for damage with emergency works having taken place and immediate reconstruction works to follow over the coming months. Some roads that have been heavily impacted may require engineering investigation/design, which can take additional time to complete.

Roads that are damaged will have hazard signage installed where required, however people will still need to take precautions when driving roads that are damaged. Landslips can occur in the days and weeks following a storm event.

Damaged roads that do not require engineering design will be repaired within the next three months.

Officers have been deployed to continually monitor damaged roads, allocate works to contractors and oversee recovery of essential public infrastructure.

Slippery Pinch Road (bottom end):

Significant land slips that will require geotechnical investigations. Clean up works have started, however the road will remain closed until the land slips are deemed to be safe. The bottom end of Slippery Pinch Road provides access to a couple of farm paddocks, no dwellings.

Sunny Point Road:

Impacted by debris. Clean-up works have commenced and the road is accessible by locals, however, the road will remain closed (local access only).

Public spaces

Large amounts of debris have been cleared by Council crews.

Grass mowing of public spaces has been limited until rocks are removed from grassed areas, which is expected in the coming days.

Septic tanks

We engaged a contractor to conduct inspections of septic tanks in the Buchan area on 29 December.

There is no cost to the landowner for this service.

If you would like to request an inspection please phone:

Ricky Gilmore 0427 575 438

Steve Harrison (Aussie Septic Solutions) 0439 400 480


Waste

  • To assist the community clean-up homes and property we extended the opening hours of the Buchan Transfer Station from 28-31 December.
  • We are providing a ‘no fee’ disposal for residents impacted by the storm and flooding.
  • The opportunity for Buchan residents to dispose of flood waste free of charge will continue over the coming weeks, by attending the Buchan Transfer Station and registering their name and residential address.

Waste transfer station hours return to normal hours from 3 January onwards:

  • Monday 8am-12pm
  • Wednesday 8am-12pm
  • Friday 8am-12pm
  • Sunday 9am-1pm

Only flood-related waste material be accepted free of charge and that certain types of hazardous material such as asbestos is not able to be accepted at the Buchan Transfer Station.

For more advice regarding waste disposal options please contact the Waste Minimisation team on 5153 9500.

Contact Council's Emergency Management Team

memo@egipps.vic.gov.au

Support services and useful links

Buchan Bush Nursing Centre

Wellbeing Support Officer: Jess Maunder

Available Monday to Thursday 8.30am – 5pm

0448 064 760

VicEmergency

Recovery advice - assistance after an emergency

VICSES

Recovery after an emergency

Department of Families Fairness and Housing

Personal Hardship Assistance Program

Electrical emergencies

Energy Safe Victoria

Emergency relief assistance

Emergency relief assistance payments explained

Insurance assistance

Insurance Council of Australia disasters

Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF)

Impacted by the storm and flooding you may be eligible for a GERF grant.

Gippsland Lakes Complete Health Emergency Recovery Program

Offers support and referrals and investigates any grants that may become available.

Department of Health

Floods: mould and your health

Anglicare Victoria

Assists with any financial counselling matters in particular with insurance matters. Provides free legal advice on any matter that is associated with this storm and flood event.

Gippsland Community Legal Service referral online or 1800 004 402 and AV financial counselling at Bushfire.FCPgipps@anglicarevic.org.au or 1800 286 260.

Agriculture Victoria

Farmers seeking agriculture recovery assistance or advice are encouraged to phone the Agriculture Recovery team on 0427 694 185 and leave a message that includes your name, phone number and locality.

Incoming phone messages are currently checked daily.

Alternatively, please email your enquiry to recovery@agriculture.vic.gov.au

Agriculture Victoria online impact assessment form.

For urgent animal welfare assistance please call 136 186.

Rural Financial Counselling Service

Free financial counselling for farmers, call 1300 045 747.

Mental health support

Talk to your doctor or contact

Lifeline 13 11 14

Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

Kids Helpline 1800 551 800

SANE Australia 1800 187 263

Other support services

January 2024 flood information

Emergency assistance and relief payments

Emergency relief payments are available for eligible community members whose homes have been impacted by the floods and storms in East Gippsland.  

Emergency relief payments are designed to provide immediate financial help for eligible Victorians experiencing extreme financial hardship due to the floods and storms. 

An emergency relief payment can help you to pay for things you need most, including:

• food

• clothing

• medication

• accommodation

Payment amount

Emergency relief payments are based on a fixed amount for each member of your household.

The payment is not calculated based on how much money you earn.

Payments are $640 per adult and $320 per child, up to a maximum of $2240 per eligible family.

Who can get the payment

You are eligible for a relief payment if you have unmet relief needs and:

• your principal place of residence is in an evacuation-warning area, and flood waters or storms have damaged your home

• your home has flooded above the floor

Applying

If you think you may be eligible for a relief payment, please contact us:

• in person at an Emergency Relief Centre, or

• on (03) 5153 9500

In person

You can check if there is an Emergency Relief Centre open near you at www.emergency.vic.gov.au/relief. If there is, you can go there in person. Bring some ID with you if you can, such as:

• driver licence

• Medicare card

• letter or utility bill showing your address

Once you arrive, someone from Council or the Victorian Government will talk to you to see if you are eligible. If you are, they will help you apply for an emergency relief payment.

Help

For more information on emergency relief payments or other relief services, you can:

• contact us on (03) 5153 9500.

• visit an Emergency Relief Centre (if open)

• visit the VicEmergency website www.emergency.vic.gov.au

• call VicEmergency on 1800 226 226 (press 9 for an interpreter)

Mental health support  

• With the recent floods, it is understandable if you are feeling concerned and experiencing a mix of strong emotions or physical reactions.

• For those who have faced flooding before, this might be a particularly challenging time that is stirring up memories and feelings of sadness, fear and grief.

• It’s important to remember that recovery is a personal journey, and everyone experiences things differently. For some people, recovery is ongoing.

• Remember, experiencing these emotions is a normal response to such events, but these concerns may lead to other issues if they are not managed.

• If you find yourself experiencing strong emotions, remember that talking about your worries and feelings as well as remaining connected to others can make them more manageable. It is important to identify what actions can be taken to address the source of your concerns. Be aware of the signs that you might need support and get help if you need it. Find out more here: www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/servicesandsupport/trauma-recovery-services.

• Seeking help is a sign of strength and often the first step in recovery.

• Remember, you are not alone in this. If you are feeling overwhelmed or concerned about your mental health, or that of someone close to you, don’t hesitate to reach out for support by talking to:

– neighbours, friends or family

– your doctor

Lifeline on 131 114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636

• For more help and information, visit: www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/servicesandsupport/trauma-recovery-services.

Resource directory for Gippsland farmers

Resource directory for Gippsland farmers (January 2024) which includes various information and contacts for anyone who has been impacted by the rain and storm events over the last 3 months (October, November, December 2023)

Please find the resource directory here.

Emergency re-establishment assistance

Emergency re-establishment assistance

Emergency re-establishment assistance is available following the 2023-24 Victorian storms and floods. If your home has been damaged or destroyed by the floods and storms and you:

• do not earn much money

• do not have building or contents insurance.

You can use this money for:

• cleaning up your home

• staying somewhere else

• repairs to your home

• rebuilding your home

• replacing damaged contents.

How to apply

If you think you may be eligible, please contact us (03)5153 9500.

More information and resources

For more information about re-establishment assistance, visit services.dffh.vic.gov.au/personal-hardship-assistance-program

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