Disability Services Minister Margaret Quirk has praised the work of Disability Services Commission staff for working to ensure the safety of Pilbara people with disabilities during Cyclone Clare.
Ms Quirk said the commission’s Pilbara staff were well prepared for events such as a cyclone.
“Back in 2001, the commission established a strong working partnership with FESA to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities would be addressed in case of a natural disaster such as a cyclone,” she said.
The Minister said about 70 people with a range of disabilities lived within the affected area, either independently or with family. Of these, six were considered to be especially vulnerable as they have needed assistance in case of evacuation.
“Once a cyclone threatens a community, the commission’s Local Area Co-ordinators (LACs) establish contact with these people to ensure that they are aware of the imminent threat, have adequate support and supplies, and that they can be evacuated if the need arises,” Ms Quirk said.
“In the case of Cyclone Clare, the LACs for Karratha contacted families and individuals who were considered vulnerable as early as possible on Monday, January 9. The regional manager kept in contact with one particular person throughout the day and made sure strategies were in place to receive assistance if required.”
Ms Quirk said that generally a community would shut down and workers would close offices and return home on Yellow Alert. The LAC in Karratha had remained in the office, however, until contact had been made with all those people regarded as vulnerable.
“As the new Minister for Disability Services, I have been delighted to see the commitment and dedication of commission staff to the people they serve, under extremely difficult circumstances,” the Minister said.
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