When the reality of COVID-19 began to sink in, BHP established a $50 million Vital Resources Fund to support remote Australian communities respond to the pandemic.
As of June 2020, more than $25 million of this fund has been committed to organisations and programs across the country, in areas of health, education and community resilience.
Here are two stories of how the fund is already having an impact in the Pilbara
Royal Flying Doctors ready to respond
The Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations (RFDS) is an essential life line for people in our remote communities, particularly during a once in a 100 year pandemic.
RFDS Western Operations CEO Rebecca Tomkinson said the Royal Flying Doctors have been a trusted health care partner in Western Australia for more than 90 years.
“We are there to help a mate when they need us the most – and that time is now, in the coming weeks and the many months ahead,” Rebecca said.
“As a not for profit charity, providing an essential life-saving service, we literally rely on the generosity of our funders to keep us in the air.”
BHP has answered this call by donating $2 million from its Vital Resources Fund to the RFDS ‘Response Ready for WA’ appeal.
Safe haven for those who can’t self-isolate
Aboriginal people who develop influenza or coronavirus symptoms now have access to a new quarantine facility in Newman as part of a program aimed at protecting Indigenous communities against the COVID-19 pandemic.
BHP contributed more than $550,000 to fund the operation of this facility it launched with East Pilbara Independence Support (EPIS). The new four-bedroom quarantine facility will support elderly, frail or disabled people who would potentially be unable to isolate in their communities.
EPIS Chief Executive Officer Vicki Kershaw said this facility is all about the potential impact of COVID-19 on the wider Newman community.
“While some families have been supported to travel back to their communities already, a significant number of people may also encounter challenges when accessing suitable housing, making it impossible to self-isolate and keep themselves and the wider community safe.” Vicki said.
EPIS will provide nursing care and support round-the-clock until residents recover or require hospitalisation if their condition worsens and there’s an additional 15 facilities on stand-by if required by the Newman community.
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