Community rallies for fire survivors

Little bit of laughter to ease pain of disaster rebuild

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Manning Valley volunteers are among a number in fire affected valleys of the North Coast keen to restore sanity to brutalised communities by holding social functions.

Manning Valley volunteers are among a number in fire affected valleys of the North Coast keen to restore sanity to brutalised communities by holding social functions.

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Rebuilding agriculture in all the fire affected valleys of the North Coast, along with their neighbouring tablelands, will remain and priority focus for some time yet.

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Rebuilding agriculture in all the fire affected valleys of the North Coast, along with their neighbouring tablelands, will remain a priority focus for some time yet.

But volunteers are helping to bring some cheer through a variety of social outlets.

At Grafton prime cattle sale next Tuesday, December 3, there will be a free morning tea, from 8-11am, to salute the enormous number of producers set back by these fires.

Clarence Valley Councillor and Chairperson of Clarence Valley Food Inc, Deb Novak, said the scope of the disaster would take 12 months to assess.

"Our valley has lost half a million hectares with 170 homes lost or damaged and 375 outbuilding affected along with two lives lost," she reported.

"Entire farming communities have been impacted who will have no income. There are difficult times ahead."

Ms Novak said Clarence Valley Food Inc was calling for one off drought community support payments to be extended to the Clarence Valley local government area so that local farmers and primary producers can have food on their tables for this Christmas.

"We're calling on Agricultural Minister Adam Marshall to declare this agricultural natural disaster," she said.

In the Manning Valley the first of five hall gatherings was held on Thursday night, organised by Rotary and The Lions, attracted about 100 lower Manning River farmers at Oxley Island Hall, the centre of drought in the district's usually productive dairy region.

Organiser Rob Chapman, Ray White Taree said the night brought together representatives from Local Land Services, Dillon Rural and National Australia Bank to help deal with season related issues.

Included in the raffles were 20 hams and a single truck load of $11,000 litres of water.

The next gathering will be held west of Wingham at Caffreys Flat on Thursday, December 5, where fire has affected property, with others to follow later in January at Marlee, Moorland and Dyers Crossing.

Entire farming communities have been impacted who will have no income. There are difficult times ahead. - Deb Novak, Clarence Valley Food Inc.

At Tenterfield where fires in the nearby Rocky River continue to burn after repeated attacks since last February, primary producers are in special need of good times.

As such a bloke's night was held on Friday night at the Tenterfield golf club featuring a motivational presentation by Rugby sensation Wendell Sailor.

The evening followed on from a successful women's get-together featuring Northern Rivers comedian Mandy Nolan, who is not shy about coming forward, reported Angus breeder and Local Land Services veterinarian, Lisa Martin.

The break from routine that these vents offer bring relief that is now more critical than ever, as this remarkable season continues to punch from above.

Last week's soaking rain and hail washed so much debris off Dairy Mountain that Dr Martin's dam is full and black, with a stench that puts cattle off drinking the stuff.

For stockholders close to town there is free bore water to be taken one cube at a time with the 1000 litres just one day's requirements 10 cows and their calves.

Dr Martin said sediment in dams was already starting to settle, but the weather event delivered yet another reminder to stock holders about the need to ensure access to clean water from clean containers.

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