Cap Coast woman’s heartbreak for her family at Batemans Bay
FEAR and concern for her family and lifelong friends’ safety as fires rage through Batemans Bay on the South Coast of NSW has Dominique White hanging by a thread and the situation is not getting any better.
Dominique, who has been living in Yeppoon for the past two years and in Rockhampton since 2011, is beside herself with concern as she continues to monitor the bushfire situation that has seen her family and friends lose their homes and livelihoods.
“Batemans Bay is where I grew up, its where I went to school, where I got married and gave birth to two of my daughters,” Dominique said.
“My family still live in the area and right now we are hard pushed to get any information to ensure they are alright as telecommunications are down.
“Two weeks ago, the northern part of the region was under threat and now the southern side is being affected.
“I have been constantly monitoring any reports coming in and feeling very frustrated not knowing what is happening.”
Dominique said her past has gone up in flames as homes, businesses and areas of local history have been decimated and the loss of people’s lives is her main fear as many people are stuck with no way to get out of town with most roads closed.
“My friend’s father stayed to defend his property, he saved the home then had two heart attacks. He is now in Batemans Bay Hospital waiting for when he can be evacuated to have surgery, we don’t even know if he will make it,” she said.
“This is just so devastating, we have just gone through our own bushfire crisis on the Capricorn Coast so everything is still very fresh and real in our minds, I can only imagine the hell everyone is going through down there.
“My family are losing their homes one after the other, my sister lost everything and tried to get out of town, but all the roads have been closed.
“My mother who works for the children’s services is all but running the evacuation centre and is exhausted as people continue to front up after losing everything.
“She and her partner purchased a new home just 12 months ago and they expect that will be lost by the weekend.
“Everyone there are fighting fires, trying to evacuate and generally trying to stay safe. “Communications are limited so at this point the focus appears to be on plan, prepare and evacuate.
“My sister lost everything, the entire town of Bodalla is gone, and they didn’t even get any warning just emergency services workers banging on their door and telling them to get out immediately, they just got out with their lives.
“None of them have received the forward warning we had when the bushfires thrashed Yeppoon.
“I haven’t heard from my uncle who lives 20km south of Batemans Bay at all yet, he has Parkinson’s, so we are all really concerned for his safety.
“Emergency workers who have lost their homes are still out there in the thick of things trying to save other people’s homes and businesses.
“The botanical gardens are gone along with the high school I went to, the heritage sites where all the old gold mines were, half the industrial area has been wiped out and so many homes and businesses.
“Lives have been lost and people are listed as missing, it just doesn’t get any worse.”
Dominique said she feels helpless sitting here waiting for any scrap of information to get out.
“It’s not like I can run to them and help while they can’t even leave because of the road closures,” she said.
“It’s so hard for everyone, my heart is there with them and to be honest, I just don’t know how you come back from such enormous devastation.
“To make matters worse, the town had an influx of people there due to it being a popular holiday destination.”
Feeling frustrated at not being able to do anything to help her family and friends as well as everyone that has been affected by the devastation, Dominique who is a part time Ambulance Communications Officer and runs her online earing business ‘Storge Designs’ is doing the only thing she can right now with a plan to raise money to help those affected by the bushfires.
“I have launched an online sale and will be selling all my earings at cost to raise money for the disaster relief efforts,” she said.
“It’s going to be a very long road to recovery, and this is the beginning of offering some small amount of help.
“I recently set up shop at Hive Boutique, inside Honeybee Collective at Emu Park with myself and Carrie Drinkwater from Lady Lathers, stocking handmade goods from local artisans and together we are trying to lend a hand with a percentage of all sales from all local homemade products being donated back to the disaster relief
“Katie from Honeybee Collective is also helping out donating 50 cents from every cup of coffee sold.”
People wanting to help can shop online at www.storgedesigns.com or drop into The Hive Boutique at Emu Park.