Victorians were shocked by the severe storms and floods that ravaged Gippsland and the Dandenong Ranges in the winter of 2021 – but The Ross Trust has been there to support the communities as they rebuild and recover.
The Trust donated $90,000 to The Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund Inc (GERF), a volunteer-run organisation that provides emergency cash relief payments to Gippslanders who suffer loss or hardship following a natural disaster.
The June floods were the result of 200 mm of rainfall across Gippsland within 24 hours of 10 June. Daily rainfall records were set across several sites. Rivers rose rapidly on the 11 June and an evacuation order was issued for parts of Traralgon.
About 95 farms and residences were impacted by flooding, and severe winds damaged 115 homes, while fallen trees damaged mobile phone base stations and NBN sites, leaving some communities isolated for weeks. The event also resulted in landslips, power outages, road closures, loss of livestock, agricultural buildings, farm machinery, hay, standing crops, pasture, and 1100 kilometres of fencing.
The deputy president of the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, Lynda Bertoli, said The Ross Trust’s donation was critically important and locals were very grateful.
The Ross Trust helped communities closer to Melbourne after wild weather also hit the Dandenong Ranges in June 2021.
The Trust granted $40,000 to the Dandenong Ranges Emergency Relief Service, which used the funds to buy firewood, fuel vouchers, bedding, and to cover rental and insurance assistance.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Dandenong Ranges Emergency Relief Service, Tania Bevan, said the firewood had been crucial to keep residents warm, while fuel was needed to run generators.
“The effects of the storm are still being felt in our community by many,” she said.
“We are truly grateful to The Ross Trust for being so generous during a very difficult time. Some recipients of the funds have been overwhelmed with the positive impact that this has had on them, and all recipients are very grateful, as are we.”
The Ross Trust Chief Executive Officer Sarah Hardy said the trust had a long tradition of helping Victorian communities in emergencies.