Mid North Coast fire's impact on food and medicine supply

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Customers might notice some items are missing from the shelves over the next few days.

Customers might notice some items are missing from the shelves over the next few days.

The Mid North Coast fires have the potential to impact food and medical supply to the Port Macquarie-Hastings region if the Pacific Highway is closed due to danger.

Hastings Co-op has 18 associated businesses across the Mid North Coast region.

Chief executive officer Allan Gordon said there is the potential for fresh food supply to be impacted if the highway is closed to vehicles travelling on the Pacific Highway.

Mr Gordon said stores are currently experiencing dwindling supplies for fresh food such as seafood, meat, bread and milk.

However he is urging people not to panic buy, as he believes there will be enough to serve the population.

The Hastings Co-op employs 350 staff members. Many are firefighters and are helping to battle blazes across the region.

Mr Gordon is urging customers to be patient due to staff shortages caused by the fires.

Hardware businesses associated with the Hastings Co-op are selling out of equipment associated with fire fighting, such as hoses and shovels.

Port Macquarie's Growers Market owner Mike Custato said their supply trucks were able to get up the highway on the morning of Monday, November 11.

However there is the potential the fires will result in the closure of the Pacific Highway on Tuesday, November 12 and over the following days.

If that's the case Mr Custato said it could impact the shop's stock later on in the week.

Growers Market has experienced an influx of customers since Friday, November 8 with people aiming to purchase fruit and vegetables to ensure they are well stocked for the week.

Port Macquarie's FoodWorks manager Sunny Singh said if the Pacific Highway is closed on Tuesday, November 12 the perishable items delivery will be impacted.

Mr Singh said this includes items of food which are required to be refrigerated.

Supply of medicine 

Port Macquarie pharmacist Judy Plunkett said there has been an increased number of people who are purchasing medicine to address respiratory issues.

Ms Plunkett said there has been increased demand for ventolin, inhalers, masks and eye drops since the fires broke out on Friday, November 8.

If the Pacific Highway is forced to close on Tuesday, November 12 due to predicted catastrophic conditions, Ms Plunkett said it's unlikely stock will be impacted.

However she said it was hard to predict the the impact on supply if the highway was closed for several days.

Ms Plunkett said it was unlikely they would run out of medicine associated with respiratory issues.

Weekend deliveries to the Terry White Chemmart pharmacies were delayed due to the fires, impacting those who require medication for specific medical issues.

Fodder and animal welfare assistance 

Bushfire affected landholders and community members seeking emergency fodder, emergency water, livestock or domestic animal assessment are urged to call the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647.

Calls for assistance are being responded to by the DPI, Local Land Services and other supporting organisations such as the RSPCA.

Once the fire ground is declared safe, staff will be on the ground assisting fire affected communities in northern New South Wales to manage animal welfare-related issues including:

  • Emergency fodder
  • Emergency stock water (for immediate animal welfare cases only)
  • Animal assessment and veterinary assistance
  • Animal euthanasia and burial
  • Care of animals in evacuation centres

Access to the fire grounds remains challenging, making it difficult to fully assess damage.

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This story Message not to 'panic buy' during fire period first appeared on Port Macquarie News.