Red Cross urges locals to prepare for Tropical Cyclone Veronica

Red Cross is urging residents in the Pilbara region in the path of Tropical Cyclone Veronica, to prepare ahead of it making landfall early Sunday as a severe category four system.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services is advising people in proximity to communities between Mardie and Wallal Downs, including Port Hedland, South Hedland, Wickham, Roebourne, Point Samson, Karratha, Dampier, Barrow Island, Pannawonica and Marble Bar to prepare for cyclonic weather.

Red Cross Emergencies State Manager Erin Fuery said they stand with local residents who are today marking the 20th anniversary of Cyclone Vance – a massive category five system that caused severe damage across the western coast of Australia. The hardest hit town was Exmouth where many buildings had severe damage. Red Cross volunteers today provided support at a commemorative community event in Exmouth.

“The combined anniversary and a cyclone looming off the coast may cause an increase in levels of distress in the community. We encourage locals to stay connected, talk to people they trust about their feelings and check on others who may be affected,” Ms Fuery said.

Local Red Cross volunteers are on standby to provide support to affected communities, as they recover from the emergency, with predictions of destructive winds, flooding, dangerous tides and coastal inundation. Ms Fuery said Red Cross has an excellent free resource available to help people prepare for an emergency.

“Being prepared can save lives,” said Ms Fuery.

“People who have prepared for a disaster often have more resilience and that can help them recover faster, both financially and emotionally.

“Getting prepared involves four simple steps – it’s about knowing the risks in your area, making a plan, getting an emergency kit and knowing your neighbours. The last step is crucial, it gives you an instant support network, and we find when people know others in their community they often cope better in the long term.

“Disaster can strike at any time, and every year all over Australia disasters affect thousands of people. Lives are lost, people are injured and homes, property, businesses and communities suffer devastating damage.”

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