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Wanneroo fires: West Australians show tremendous support in fundraising for homes destroyed by bushfires

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Caitlyn RintoulThe West Australian
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Jolanda Capes at her Mariginiup property with her horse William. Her house has been without power since last week’s bushfire.
Camera IconJolanda Capes at her Mariginiup property with her horse William. Her house has been without power since last week’s bushfire. Credit: Supplied

West Australian generosity has shone in the wake of the horror blaze that destroyed 18 homes with hundreds of thousands poured into fundraising for the fire-ravaged communities — even before the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund opened on Monday.

City of Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas said the fund was activated on Saturday after an emergency meeting of the board to assist those in the Mariginiup area.

“We’ve all seen the pictures and are aware of the distress. I know West Aussies will respond magnificently as they always do, when it comes time to helping fellow citizens,” he said.

Residents of 18 homes will receive a $5000 immediate payment from the fund and owners of the dozens of destroyed outbuildings could be eligible for a $3000 grant if they suffered “major damage”.

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A string of GoFundMe pages for individual affected residents had combined raised hundreds of thousands on Sunday.

It comes as Premier Cook announcing on Sunday that the Water Corporation would be tackling limited water issues in the area by stepping in to help rebuild or reconnect systems. He also urged people in the area to use “water wisely”.

“We have seen significant demand placed on the water networks in the Perth community,” Mr Cook said.

“While storage levels are recovering and there are no reported impacts to the scheme. It will take time for fire damage assets to be repaired and the network to return to full capacity.”

Mariginiup resident Jolanda Capes is thankful her home was saved in the horror bushfires but said keeping livestock watered had been difficult and costly since power was first cut on Wednesday.

Mariginiup resident Jolanda Capes is thankful her home was saved in the horror bushfires but said keeping livestock watered had been difficult and costly since power was first cut on Wednesday.
Camera IconMariginiup resident Jolanda Capes is thankful her home was saved in the horror bushfires but said keeping livestock watered had been difficult and costly since power was first cut on Wednesday. Credit: Iain Gillespie/ Iain Gillespie

About to run out of water and told it could be a fortnight-wait for power to be restored, Ms Capes was relieved when was reinstated late on Sunday.

“We’ve all got livestock out here. I have eight horses at the moment because I’m taking care of evacuated horses from others who have been impacted, plus goats and poultry,” she said.

Ms Capes had been running a small generator, spending $100 a day on petrol, which didn’t have enough power to draw bore water from the ground and her property isn’t linked to scheme water.

City of Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas said the fund was activated on Saturday after an emergency meeting of the board to assist those in the Mariginiup area.
Camera IconCity of Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas said the fund was activated on Saturday after an emergency meeting of the board to assist those in the Mariginiup area. Credit: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

Energy Minister Bill Johnston said additional crews had been called in to fasttrack the work.

“I’ve been advised that a bit over 400 houses that were impacted by the direct damage from the fires and all but 120 of those houses have now been reconnected,” Mr Johnston said.

“It takes about eight hours to replace the type of poles. Western Power is working as quickly as it is safe to do so to replace the poles. Over 100 employees and contractors for Western Power were active yesterday and they’ve continued working today.”

A Western Power spokesman said 33 distribution and one transmission pole were replaced on Sunday alone.

“We know how important power supply is and crews will work as quickly and safely as possible to restore it.

“At this stage we have reports of more than 100 poles damaged, and there are also burned transformers and lots of downed wires which will need to be repaired.”

Donations to the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund for those affected by the Mariginiup fires can be made here.

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