Saturday, February 06, 2010

One year on - recovery after disaster

from w
It is one year on from the Black Saturday bushfire disaster in Victoria that created chaos in seventy-eight communities with a massive loss of life and property. Nature started renewal fairly quickly with new leaves on the trunks of trees and ferns and even flowers emerging from the blackened soil. Many people still have terrible memories of that day, losing family members under horrific circumstances. Some people grieved alone, others were upheld by compassion and help from a community. Today there will be many religious services to help people move on, to know there is God alongside them in their suffering and the importance of community.

From the Herald Sun:
VICTORIANS will pause and remember Black Saturday, one year after the devastating bushfires that changed Victoria forever. A minute's silence will be held at noon out of respect for the 173 people who were killed. In the 78 communities directly affected by the fires, locals will hold low-key ceremonies to mark the first anniversary. Some will plant trees. Others will gather at churches to say prayers. Some will come together for barbecues, games of cricket and companionship to ease the hurt of this milestone. In Melbourne, a service at St Paul's Cathedral at noon is open to the public and will be an opportunity for Victorians to show solidarity for survivors still grieving.

The anniversary will also be a chance to reflect on the selfless heroics of the CFA volunteers who fought desperately to save homes and lives. Bushfire recovery chief Christine Nixon said many heroes had emerged from the tragedy, including police and firefighters, and the residents who stayed and fought for their communities, during and after the fires.
How do people cope with sudden dramatic change and overwhelming grief? Sometimes when a person is extremely ill there is time to plan, to make adjustments, but when death of a friend or family member is sudden, the grief can be even more difficult. Some people seem courageous and manage fairly well, others just drop their bundles. Mostly though, with the support and compassion of friends, church, family, the process of recovery occurs. I know from personal experience, that a family loss nearly ten years ago opened up a whole new way of seeing other people who started telling me stories of loss in their own experiences.

After the fires, some families never went back to the burnt out area, but others started rebuilding their homes, fences, gardens, paddocks. One gentleman who lost his wife and child, met his new partner during the recovery process after the fires.I think that a bushfire, tragedy, and then recovery in the landscape, and by people coping and moving on, is a parable to us of life, that there is hope even after huge grief.

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Blogger annie said...

Our times are not in sync,Wendy, but it is nearly noon, here, and I am pausing for a moment of silence from Up North.

My sympathy and love and prayers for all those touched by that Black Sunday.


9:26 AM  

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