A service at the Malua Bay Surf Club this morning has recognised the second anniversary of the Black Summer bushfires that devastated the region.
New Eurobodalla Mayor Matt Hatcher says it was an appropriate time to pause, reflect on the fantastic work of all the region’s emergency services, and make sure support was available for people who were still struggling.
“I think it’s very important to always remember those people who suffered so much at that time, and went through so much hardship, and some that still are as well, and it’s a great time to reflect and thank those emergency services that did so much at that time as well,” he said.
Cr Hatcher described the anniversary as “a hard day”.
“While every year we’ll see tourists and visitors celebrate the new year on the coast, the community will always remember that black summer,” he said.
“We must never forget the way the community rallied together to help each other through what was the worst summer in living history.
“While we will never forget, we must also look forward and be more resilient into the future.”
Cr Hatcher said many were still traumatised by their experiences in the fires, “so we must keep supporting those affected”.
“We are only as strong as our weakest link, so please check on your neighbour and support each other. We must continue to talk and heal together,” he said.
Bega Valley Council lowered its flags to half-mast this morning as part of a low-key recognition of the date, and kept them there all day.
In the Bega Valley the fires claimed four lives and destroyed 476 homes, along with about 1000 sheds and outbuildings.
Acting CEO Anthony McMahon said council wanted only a small commemoration of the date because so many people were still suffering from the fires’ impacts.
“We thought we’d do something fairly low-key but still recognise that it’s two years since those fires came through, and we are still very much in the recovery phase from the fires, and it’s important to recognise that at this stage, and certainly it’s not the end of the recovery,” he said.
Images: 2EC news