Devastation as fire sweeps through the paddocks and structures surrounding Tabulam.
Devastation as fire sweeps through the paddocks and structures surrounding Tabulam. Marc Stapelberg

Jubullum community 'treated like cattle' during fires

AFTER fleeing from a fast and furious fire on Tuesday, the Jubullum community were directed to an evacuation point in Tabulam on the Bruxner Hwy opposite the rural store.

They stood for six hours in the sun without water or food.

Jubullum Aboriginal Land Council chief executive Nicola Mercer said they waited, and waited.

"We were treated like cattle,"Ms Mercer said.

"We had no water or food and there was no seating for elders. "

No one offered them anything, Ms Mercer said.

A day later, Jubullum residents returned to their homes to collect belongings. 

Ms Mercer said the community was traumatised and saddened by the previous day's events.

Not only seeing the land destroyed and having to evacuate but that they felt uncared for by the community.

"We were saddened by the lack of community support," she said. "We don't want that to happen again."

A disaster recovery centre was set up in the Tabulam Hall for support and counselling for those affected by the fire.

Kyogle Council mayor Danielle Mulholland said water and sewer was yet to be restored at the Jubullum community.

"We want to get people back as soon as possible," Clr Mullholland said. "We know how distressing it is for people to be away from home."

Phone lines in parts of Tabulam are still not operational.

Jubullum community members are being temporarily housed in motels in Casino and Lismore, with reports of families being evicted and split up, Ms Mercer said.

While families will need support, Ms Mercer asked people not to go out to the community just yet, but rather donate at drop-off centres instead.

Supermarket food vouchers were especially useful right now, she said.

The CWA at Bonalbo and Kyogle have banded together to provide household goods for families who had lost everything in the Tabulam fire.

HOW TO DONATE

Drop off point at Ngunya Jarjum Child and Family Network at 70 Carrington St, Lismore. Phone 6626 3700.



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