SES volunteer lends a hand

Neville Spiers. (Supplied)

By Oliver Lees

From Gisborne to Geraldton, Neville ‘Nev’ Spiers is jetting off to help Australians recovering from tropical cyclone Seroja.

The State Emergency Service (SES) Gisborne volunteer has been selected for a five-day deployment to Western Australia, where he will spend three days in and around Geraldton cleaning up after the cyclone’s path of destruction.

The cyclone tore across Western Australia’s mid-west towns Northampton and Kalbarri, some 700 kilometres north of Perth.

The ABC reported last week that approximately 70 per cent of buildings in Kalbarri were damaged, with winds reaching heights of 170km/h.

Mr Spiers was able to apply to help because he holds a Safe Working at Heights (SWAHS) and chainsaw qualifications. He also has experience as a crew leader.

SES Gisborne section leader of events and presentations, Shanleigh Meldrum said the organisation was more than happy to offer its members to help with the clean up, and said Mr Spiers would be a valued member of the team.

“We are fortunate to have around 60 members in our unit, which allows people to go on deployment in Victoria and interstate when needed, while still having sufficient members able to cover our own area,” she said.

“We are always more than happy to deploy volunteers to other regions, as we know should we ever need help they would do the same for us.

“Although cyclones are not common in Victoria, the recovery tasks are the same for large storms and tornadoes.”

Mr Spiers will be part of a 22-member taskforce, consisting of 20 volunteers and two staff deployed from all over the state.