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Environmental

Steps to Take When Confronted by Severe Weather

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Severe weather warning road sign.

Steps to Take When Confronted by Severe Weather

 

Natural calamities like floods, cyclones, and fires are part of the Australian reality, emphasising the importance of knowing what steps to take before, during, and after such events.

The recent spate of extreme weather incidents across Australia, including bushfires, floods, and storms, underscores the potential for widespread damage and human casualties during natural disasters. Events like Cyclone Jasper in Far North Queensland, accompanied by heavy rainfall, and the ongoing bushfires in various states emphasise the critical need for preparedness, prompt emergency response, and adequate insurance coverage.

To assist in such situations, here are crucial guidelines for actions before, during, and after emergencies:

Preparation:

  • Stay updated: Remain informed about weather forecasts and alerts issued by local authorities. Utilize emergency alert systems on mobile devices, pay heed to official announcements via radio and television, especially ABC Local Radio during emergencies.
  • Emergency kit: Assemble a comprehensive kit containing non-perishable food, water, medications, essential documents, and first-aid supplies to sustain your family for at least 72 hours.
  • Evacuation planning: Familiarise yourself with evacuation routes and emergency shelter locations. Develop a family emergency plan, establish communication methods, and decide on meeting points. Consider vulnerable neighbours or family members who may need assistance evacuating.
  • Property securing: Take precautions by securing loose items, reinforcing doors and windows, and trimming branches before storms. In case of fire threats, reduce potential fuel sources and take preventive measures.
Severe weather warning road sign.

Knowing the steps for being confronted by severe weather is an essential step for navigating the Australian landscape.

Insurance Claims:

  • Document damage: Capture clear photographs and videos of property damage and prepare a detailed list of affected items.
  • Inform insurer: Report the incident to your insurance company promptly, providing necessary information and inquiring about required documentation.
  • Assessment: Insurance assessors will evaluate the damage; cooperate and provide any additional information needed.
  • Maintain records: Keep records of all communication with the insurer, including receipts, emails, and invoices supporting your claim.
  • Temporary accommodation: If your residence becomes uninhabitable, maintain records of additional living expenses incurred during temporary accommodation.

Community Support:

  • Seek assistance: Don’t hesitate to seek community support during challenging times. Organisations like the Salvation Army (13 72 58) offer practical aid, while Lifeline (13 11 14) provides support for those in need of someone to talk to.

During difficult times, the Australian community stands united in lending support to one another, demonstrating a willingness to assist in any way possible. Organisations like the Salvation Army and Lifeline are ready resources for practical assistance and emotional support when needed.

 

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Environmental

From Near Death to Thriving: Hobi’s Incredible Recovery at Northern Rivers Koala Hospital

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Hobi is now in Koala Kindy after his life saving treatment at the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital

From Near Death to Thriving:

 

By Sarah Waters

The Northern Rivers Koala Hospital in Lismore recently shared a heart-warming story about a very young koala joey, named Hobi, which came into its care.

Discovered cold and alone under a bush, Hobi was taken to the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital in February this year.

The hospital’s veterinary team were initially concerned about the young joey’s chances of survival.

He weighed a mere 700 grams upon arrival and was suffering shock from exposure.

Veterinary Clinical & Research Director at Friends of the Koala Dr Jodie Wakeman said Hobi could barely sit up, was very dehydrated, had an erratic heartbeat, abnormal head and eye movements and his body temperature was so low that a reading did not register on the thermometer.

“Hobi surprised us all – with some medications, fluids, intensive care in a humidicrib and lots of TLC, he slowly improved over the next few days,” Dr Wakeman said.

“It wasn’t long before Hobi was eating leaves and starting to move around,” she said.

Hobi defied the odds and in the week’s that followed he gradually became stronger and stronger.

Hobi’s early days in home care at the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital

Hobi’s early days in home care

His heart rate settled, his body temperature and hydration normalised, and his metabolic and neurological problems disappeared.

After two months in intensive home care with Joey Care Coordinator and part time vet nurse Liz McLeod, Hobi progressed to Koala Kindy and is now undergoing his rewilding journey.

At Koala Kindy, run by Friends of the Koala, Hobi will learn how to feed himself, climb and interact with other koalas, before eventually being released back to the wild.

Dr Wakeman said Hobi was the ‘little miracle koala for the year.’

“We are so pleased to see him thriving and so proud of our veterinary and volunteer teams that help to save koalas like him,” she said.

Joey koalas rely on the care of their mother from birth to about 18 months of age.

At the Koala kindy, trained volunteer koala carers will continue to give joeys supplement milk once or twice a day, administer medications, visually assess their health and weigh them regularly.

 

For more local news, click here.

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Northern Rivers Koala Hospital needs funding: Urgent appeal for support

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A koala being treated at the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital in Lismore

Northern Rivers Koala Hospital needs funding: Urgent appeal for support

 

By Sarah Waters

Koalas are becoming an increasingly rare sight in NSW and the one organisation that is dedicated solely to their care in the Northern Rivers is desperately trying to keep operating as normal.

The Northern Rivers Koala Hospital, operated by Friends of the Koala, has made an urgent plea for financial support.

A decline in donations and available funding has threatened the hospital’s ability to operate effectively.

The hospital is specifically designed for the medical treatment of koalas and is the only wildlife hospital in NSW licensed to vaccinate all treated koalas against Chlamydia – the number one cause of death for koalas in the Northern Rivers.

General manager of Friends of the Koala Silva Everaers said more than 350 Koalas are treated at the hospital each year.

“From July last year we’ve seen a 20 per cent increase in koalas coming in, versus the year before,” Ms Everaers said.

“It will continue to increase as the threats to koalas are increasing with climate change, natural disasters, habitat being destroyed causing more koalas on the road, which leads to car hits, dog attacks and more diseases due to stress.

“So that’s obviously concerning, and it has been really, really busy for our volunteers rescuing and caring for them,” she said.

The Northern Rivers Koala Hospital was formed in 2019 and is part of the wider Friends of the Koala (FOK) organisation.

The FOK organisation receives government grants for certain projects including a recent grant to vaccinate 300 koalas against chlamydia.

But no government money is received for the operational cost of the koala hospital.

General Manager of Friends of the Koala and Northern Rivers Koala Hospital Silva Everaers

General Manager of Friends of the Koala Silva Everaers

Half a million dollars needs to be raised by Friends of the Koala each year to cover the hospital’s annual operating expenses.

It is set up with diagnostic and treatment tools including ultrasounds, x-rays, a blood bank, as well as surgical and pathology equipment to provide specialised 24/7 veterinary care to koalas.

Until more funds become available the hospital may not be able to continue in its current capacity.

Ms Everaers said the priority was to keep the hospital funded and veterinary staff paid.

“That really is where the research and the magic happens,” she said.

“We work with over 300 volunteers, who do an absolutely incredible job rescuing and rehabilitating the koalas treated in our hospital, and because of that we are able to keep operational costs really, really low.

“But we can’t do it without financial support, in the end, there’s medicine, veterinary staff, the equipment we need, research facilities – it’s not free.”

Friends of the Koala have set up a special donation drive, appealing to the public’s generosity to help keep the hospital in operation and maintain their high standards of care.

Anyone with a heart for wildlife, including business owners and philanthropists, can become a ‘Friend of the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital’ at: friendsofthekoala.org or support by donating to the organisation.

Friends of the Koala are a grassroots organisation with more than 35 years of experience working on critical, on-the-ground activities to conserve habitat and protect koalas individually and as a species.

It originated as a charity focused on planting trees but has evolved into a multifaceted organisation that also provides 24/7 koala rescue, medical treatment, research, advocacy and community education.

Friends of the Koala has successfully rehabilitated and released over 2000 koalas back into the wild since its inception.

The Northern Rivers is home to one of the last significant, genetically diverse koala populations.

 

For more local news, click here.

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Environmental

NSW Government supports Northern Rivers green bin education

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NSW Government supports Northern Rivers green bin education

 

North East Waste has received an $89,700 grant from the NSW Government to help educate Northern Rivers residents about what types of waste can and can’t go into FOGO (Food Organics Garden Organics) bins. The funding aims to ensure that food waste and garden waste such as plants stays out of landfill. It also aims to keep green bins free from contaminants like plastic.

Earlier this year, North East Waste and its member councils (Ballina, Byron, Clarence Valley, Lismore, Kyogle, Richmond Valley and Tweed) announced that Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) bins should now only be used for food scraps and garden waste. This means that materials like paper, cardboard and teabags do not go into green bins as they can contaminate the final compost made from the organic content.

North East Waste Education Coordinator Linda Tohver said the assistance from the NSW Government would help councils to continue promote the right message and increasing awareness in the community.

“The response from community has been positive so far, and we need to keep spreading the word,” Ms Tohver said.

“The messages are simple to follow and will help keep potentially harmful items out of our green bins so that we can create the best quality commercial compost from residents’ food scraps and garden waste.”

What CAN go in your green bin What CAN NOT go in your green bin
Fruit and vegetable scraps Fibre-based products (bamboo, cardboard, paper etc)
Meat and bones Paper towels, serviettes, tissues, napkins
Seafood and shells Compostable or biodegradable products (excluding AS 4736-2006 kitchen caddy liners )
Pasta, bread, rice and cereal Vacuum cleaner dust
Eggs and dairy products like cheese Washing machine and dryer lint
Loose tea leaves and coffee grinds Pet poo and poo bags
Garden waste (leaves, clippings, weeds etc) Tea and coffee bags
Council approved compostable kitchen caddy liners that comply with AS 4736-2006 and the paper used to wrap food scraps. Treated wood and timber
  Plastic

 

For more information, visit here. The ‘Let’s Get our Scrap Together’ campaign is proudly supported by the NSW Government.

 

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