13 November 2022

Safety in numbers: workshops will discuss how to better prepare Eden for disasters

| Albert McKnight
Start the conversation
Two women

Dr Jodie Stewart and Cherie Mercado, pictured in front of Johanna Mitchell’s public art mural that was recently erected in Imlay Memorial Park, are excited about the Resilient Eden Community Workshops. Photo: Supplied.

Workshops will be held later this month for Eden’s community to discuss ideas for projects that could make their town more resilient and better prepared for disasters.

The workshops are designed to bring residents together to have an input on how Eden might develop projects as well as use tools and resources that have been effective in other regional areas.

“We want as many people to come along as possible,” Eden Community Access Centre’s Disaster Preparedness Project coordinator Dr Jodie Stewart said.

“It’s really important for everyone in the community to have a voice in this process. Disaster preparedness affects everyone.”

Dr Stewart said the workshops were about an all-hazards approach to disaster preparedness.

While the impacts of the Black Summer bushfires are still felt in the region, with many still recovering from that disaster, she said the COVID-19 pandemic also had a disastrous impact on the community and there had also been major rains and flooding.

READ ALSO Two men missing, towns awash as flash flooding hits region

She said the workshops would draw on the results of 16 recent Community Table Talks in the local area, which found the community believes there are three key priorities if Eden is to be better prepared for disasters and emergencies.

The first was greater community connection, such as knowing your neighbours and their disaster plans, while the second was improved communication within neighbourhoods and between communities and authorities.

The third key priority was regular education, information and training, such as building skills and knowledge to be better prepared for a disaster.

Table Talk host Cherie Mercado said she found it reassuring people had come to the same conclusions about getting back to basics and supporting one another to manage tough times.

“We really do need to work together on these fundamental issues and come up with ways to solve some of our own challenges for the long term,” she said.

Dr Stewart said communities needed to be strong together and self-sufficient.

“We saw from the 2019-2020 bushfires that in some areas there was an expectation a fire truck would be on every doorstep,” she said.

“There were some harsh learnings from that experience, including the realisation that individuals and communities need to learn to look after themselves and each other.

“Disaster events are becoming more frequent and less predictable. We can’t control that, but we can control how we prepare as a community to support ourselves and care for one another.”

READ ALSO Mayor pleads with owners of second homes to help ease Bega Valley’s housing crisis

Local communities are already making progress with preparedness projects. For instance, almost 40 residents from Eden Cove came together in October to hear about Red Cross’s community-led resilience team model and to discuss how this model might be used to structure and organise disaster readiness.

Community-led resilience teams bring together the strengths that already exist in communities, in a structured way, to lead resilience building and disaster preparation activities.

The Resilient Eden Community Workshops will be on 23 and 26 November from 10 am to 3:30 pm at the Eden Library Event Space. There will be food, a coffee van, music and activities for kids.

To get involved in the workshops, contact Dr Stewart at [email protected] or on 0488 079 853.

For more information on the Disaster Preparedness Project, visit the Eden Community Access Centre’s website.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.