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Haifa Blog

05Mar2020
Haifa Australia Community Engagement

Bushfire Relief via Balzeaid

 

Background

Australia was impacted by massive wild fires – bushfires – in December 2019 following on to January 2020, over 1,000,000ha of natural bushland and farmland was burnt. This was covered by the international Jason positioning a rail media and was a cause of concern to all Australians.

One organisation Blazeaid (Blazeaid.com) seeks to help farmers get back on their feet by arranging volunteers to help refence the boundaries of farms. The idea is that by fencing the boundaries the farmers are able to contain their livestock (sheep and cattle) while at the same time providing time for healing. Blazeaid volunteers physically help by removing burnt fences and building new one but also help the mental health of farmers by providing solutions and different people to debrief their experiences with.

It is the Australian team’s belief that our actions are consistent with SDG 15 – Life on the land. The building of boundary fences ensures that livestock are not accessing the natural areas of bush land. That livestock are not feely entering water ways and rivers that are important for native animals. It could also be said that SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities was also acted upon by bringing our staff from the city to meet and support the farmers in the country, as well as interacting with the other volunteers many of which were from the city.

 

Haifa Australia’s involvement

After the initial fire front the Haifa Australia team decided that Balzeaid would be a worth while community organisation to donate some time and materials to. Navindra contacted two Blazeaid camps and the Buchan camp was selected for February the 25th and 26th. In an effort to maximise our community involvement Haifa invited our distribution partners to join the efforts, the idea here was not only to increase numbers but to also have interaction with our business partners in a different setting – unfortunately we did not have any business partners able to attend.

The community of Buchan is around 4.5hrs East of Melbourne and was the location of the only death due to the fires in the state of Victoria. The area is mainly used for grazing sheep and cattle however the river flats are also used for seed production of crops like maize.

The Haifa Australia team of four – Peter, Jason, Navindra and Trevor spend two days of manual labour building new fences and removing fences impacted by the fires. The first job was to build a fence to exclude wandering cattle from a property impacted by fire, the urgency to erect this fence was compounded by the property owner having stage 4 cancer. The erection and exclusion of the cattle was an important goal to relieve the anxiety of the owners during this trying time.

The fence built was of around 100m across very rocky ground and consisted of steel pickets and electrified wire. The team also spent time walking another 300m of fence to check for damage and current loss, this being over steep terrain.

Note the fire impacted bush in the back ground

 

Day two saw the Haifa team divide into to on one property. Jason and Navindra working with the farm owner and another volunteer Simon to repair stock yards. This job consisted of replacing burnt timber – a job the farmer would not have been able to achieve without the extra hands.

Peter and Trevor worked with volunteer Alan to remove around 400m of wire fencing so that new fencing can he installed. The task for this group was to pull out and roll up the wire, effectively 2-3km of wire removed by hand, additionally steel posts were removed along the impacted fence lines.

Navindra - Volunteering in Bushfire area was a great experience. Can’t believe the regeneration of plants and grass withing few months after such a massive fire.

Peter AndersonTree stumps and fence posts burned a meter under the ground and grey ash on the nearby hills bears evidence of the extreme heat. Red-brown rivers carry soil and ash, not held in place by groundcover.

Rain has turned the blacked earth green the teams first task.

 

What is left of someone’s house and lifes possessions​

 

Navindra in the fore ground with stock yard being repaired.​

 

Rain brings life and the trees start to sprout.​

 

The Bush after a very hot fire has passed through

The Bush after a very hot fire has passed through​

 

Above – Jason CSO, Navindra Accountant and Peter Senior Agronomist next to a burnt fence post.

Above – Jason CSO, Navindra Accountant and Peter Senior Agronomist next to a burnt fence post.

 

Peter and volunteer Alan removing fencing wire from a burnt fence.

Above – Peter and volunteer Alan removing fencing wire from a burnt fence.​

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