Helping hand extended during bushfires

As the Rural Fire Service battled to contain bushfires around the shire, residents were busy trying to find out how friends and family were coping.

Social media site Facebook proved a popular outlet for support, particularly through the “Official Bega Valley Flood and Fire Update” page.

Two Bega women, Lynette Foreman and Samantha Murphy, took their care one step further by offering refuge for those in need.

Ms Foreman posted the comment “anyone needing to evacuate is welcome at my place” and included her address and contact details.

Ms Murphy wrote “anyone needing 2 move their horses, cattle, goats etc, I have a small paddock 5kms south of bega u r more than welcome 2 use”.

Ms Murphy included her mobile number and told fellow residents to stay safe.

When contacted by the BDN, both women said no-one had taken them up on their offers.

However, when asked why they made the offer, Ms Foreman and Ms Murphy said “there was nowhere [for people] to go”.

Ms Foreman, who moved to Bega in 2003, said “I didn’t know if the town hall was open – nothing was advertised”.

Ms Foreman said she offered refuge at her home because she would like to think residents would replicate it for her family.

“I think it’s very important,” she said.

Ms Foreman is no stranger to helping others in need.

On Sunday, Ms Foreman and a friend were driving to Cobargo when they noticed a broken down car.

The pair helped the young couple and their four-month-old baby, who had been stuck on the side of the road for 45 minutes.

Ms Foreman gave the couple a drink, told them to ring NRMA, took the baby to get some water and then even helped them find a motel in Cobargo to stay the night.

The following day, Ms Foreman helped a man who had been walking for five kilometres and had no water.

Meanwhile, Ms Murphy said she offered support because there was nowhere for larger animals to go.

Ms Murphy, who moved to the area four years ago, said she had plenty of space and owns only two small goats.

“It’s pretty terrible, people were even scared down here [Bega],” she said.

“It would be bad enough to leave your house and be hoping it is there when you get back.

“You love all of your animals.”

Ms Murphy said community spirit was crucial and she had friends who were nearly affected by the bushfire on Warrigal Range Rd.

“There is nowhere to go, unless you know someone,” she said.

“The community needs to pull together and help each other, otherwise you’re left stranded.”

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