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Forgotten Friday

On 1 March 2019, lightning strikes ignited fires in the Victorian townships of Tonimbuk, Bunyip North, Tynong North and Garfield North, located about one hour’s drive south east of Melbourne. The fires destroyed 29 homes and 67 sheds and outbuildings, and damaged hundreds more properties, burning over 100,000 hectares of land.

The Insurance Council of Victoria declared the fires a catastrophe on 9 March. Locals are calling the fires “forgotten Friday” as many property owners are still cleaning up after the devastation and some are struggling as a result of being under insured.

Cardinia Shire Council’s Municipal Recovery Manager David Lane met with Samaritan’s Purse in early June to discuss the ongoing need for recovery assistance for residents.

“The Samaritan’s Purse volunteers are joining the existing volunteers to do jobs including chopping and stacking wood, removing burnt fence posts and clearing fence lines, cleaning up garden waste, clearing smaller debris from properties and chainsaw work,” David said.

“Samaritan’s Purse came on board just at the right time, at a point when some of the volunteers who had been serving for a couple of months were starting to tire.

“The group have been really well received in the community. Thank you so much to Samaritan’s Purse for offering assistance, and for all the great work!” David said.

We are thankful for the opportunity to serve people affected by the bushfires, and grateful for the 30 people that have volunteered for this deployment. One of our volunteers shared about his experience:  “the most impactful thing about volunteering has been seeing everyone come together and work as a team… it is inspirational. It is great to work alongside the homeowners and see their positive “we will get there” attitude.”

If you are interested in volunteering for future deployments, please contact us at

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