Convoy of Hope team members have recently been quarantined to their homes as a part of a nationwide “Stay At Home” measure in Australia. Because of the rising needs associated with COVID-19, the ReGrow Conjola Project will be put on hold for at least the next month. The team will start operations back up once the global pandemic ends and they can once again focus on helping communities affected by the bush fires.
March 23, 2020 | 8:25 a.m.
LAKE CONJOLA, AUSTRALIA — We have resourced the Conjola recovery team with camping gear to assist in their efforts of restoring rural property fences and gates destroyed by the fires. A new working group will direct and facilitate the Regrow Conjola project. Their goal is to bring more school, businesses, volunteer groups, local governments, and even national parks into the program, all while assisting local nurseries through the purchase of tube stock and gardening supplies. Our team provided a full day of learning to eight groups of children (approximately 20 in each group) on bushfire disaster, evacuation, and recovery. These children will be part of the Regrow Conjola program.
MERIMBULA, AUSTRALIA — We connected with a local Australian Christian Churches church (ACC) in Merimbula that has been tirelessly serving communities through the distribution of supplies, evacuation center support, and chaplaincy support to the ambulance service. They have also recently established a fund to support local businesses through a local gift voucher program.
March 6, 2020 | 11:30 a.m.
Convoy of Hope is continuously working on the Regrow Conjola Project. The team has partnered with eight schools so far, and each have altered their curriculum for the remainder of the year to help with this project. Additionally, with all the fires now out, a team will be visiting several communities in South Australia, as well as drought affected areas, to see what needs Convoy of Hope can address. Here is the most up-to-date information regarding Convoy’s response to the wildfires in Australia.
946 families served
2,460 individuals served
12,280 masks distributed
100 hygiene kits distributed
10 churches, partners, and churches resourced
7 communities served
February 7, 2020 | 9:30 a.m.
LAKE CONJOLA, AUSTRALIA — The team drove back to Lake Conjola and attended a meeting regarding ongoing needs in the community. In this area, a partnership is being formed that allows school students in Sydney to grow plants all year long. These plants will then be gifted to fire-affected communities for residents’ gardens.
Thankfully, a lot of rain has fallen in many areas that have not received rain in a very long time. This has been a great help in the areas affected by fires and drought. Unfortunately, this has caused flooding, so the team is also assessing how Convoy of Hope can serve these areas.
January 31, 2020 | 11:30 a.m.
BATEMAN’S BAY, AUSTRALIA — Another 3,750 masks were sent to a partner in Bateman’s Bay this week. These will be distributed through the Rural Fire Service across a number of communities in that area. In addition to masks, the Eurobodalla Council reached out and requested storage containers to store relief supplies, similar to the intervention previously provided in Lake Conjola.
January 21, 2020 | 2:30 p.m.
Assessments continue across communities affected by the bushfires. Many of the areas are still completely cut off by flames. In addition to the fires, a rare thunderstorm came through the eastern shore and caused flooding and tree damage. Convoy of Hope assisted with some of the cleanup jobs. Rain is still needed in much of the area, so overall it is welcome. Many of the drought-affected communities — who have not seen much of any rain in the last 3 years — also received rain.
January 17, 2020 | 11 a.m.
LAKE CONJOLA, AUSTRALIA — The team returned from a trip to one of the affected areas along the southeast coast. This location, Lake Conjola, is where the majority of our assistance has been provided so far.
Yesterday, the winds shifted and again caused smoke to fill many coastal communities as fires continue in more than 100 locations. However, many of the extremely dry areas received a considerable amount of rain over the last two days. This is one of the more significant rainfalls in the past few years.
Doors continue to open with new relationships in other affected areas, and plans are being put into place on how to best serve those locations. Due to the generosity of Australians, water and food needs are at a minimum. However, the team is preparing for when global attention dies down and more needs arise.
Convoy of Hope is ready to assist families who have lost their homes — more than 2,200 now — throughout the recovery process in the coming years. The team is working to secure storage space for inbound donations and will work to have a container sent from the U.S. to supplement product being given in country.
January 15, 2020 | 3 p.m.
Three containers have been secured and are set up in two areas where relief supplies have been contributed, but there is no storage to hold items for families in the upcoming weeks as they sort through the remains of their property. Additionally, 9,000 masks have been distributed to areas where smoke is making the air quality too low for breathing.
January 14, 2020 | 8 a.m.
More than 100 fires continue to burn across Australia, and 36 of them are out of control. Smoke continues to affect the air quality in Sydney and many other coastal communities. More than 2,100 homes have been destroyed. Another Convoy of Hope team is being deployed to the area with gear bags, masks with respirators, and solar lanterns.
January 9, 2020 | 10 a.m.
Convoy of Hope has delivered relief supplies to communities recently devastated by bushfires. Fire season is far from over, and today was expected to be another catastrophic day with persistent dry conditions and high winds. In addition to immediately providing basic relief supplies, the Disaster Services team will be supporting operations there, with additional team members traveling to Australia and arriving at the beginning of next week.
January 8, 2020 | 10 a.m.
Australia has suffered from consistent fires since September of last year, but more than 130 fires have occurred since December 20 alone. To date, 15 million acres have been destroyed. The country has deployed 3,000 Army reservists — along with their largest naval vessel — to help evacuate residents from the coast. The U.S. and Canada have also sent fire fighting teams to Australia to aid in efforts.
Nearly 70 fires are still unconfined and expected to rage for the next few months. These fires are seven times larger than the ones California experienced in 2017. Metropolitan-area cities, such as Sydney and Canberra, have set record temperatures recently — reaching as high as 120 degrees. Once-blue skies are being replaced with smoke and ash.
Convoy of Hope already has team members on the ground to aid victims of this disaster with relief supplies. Additional teams are deploying soon to help areas that need it most.