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Victoria fires: the Red Cross response

The recovery process begins after fires swept across Victoria last weekend.

Wednesday January 7, 2015

Red Cross staff are part of the team at the bushfire relief centre at the Ararat Town Hall. Credit: AAP Image/Jamie Duncan

As bushfires continue to threaten the Adelaide Hills, Victoria now begins the process of recovering from the fires that started during soaring temperatures last weekend.

Throughout the recovery process, Red Cross staff and volunteers will continue to support individuals, families and communities affected by the emergency now and for the long haul.

During the emergency, and in the immediate aftermath, Red Cross staff and volunteers were there in relief centres in Ararat, Lake Bolac and Hastings, providing psychological first-aid to distressed residents.  We also provided food and basic supplies to those who needed them the most.

Red Cross assisted local residents to register with the Register.Find.Reunite. service, in order to let friends, family and loved ones know they were safe.

Red Cross' experience working with people after a disaster has shown that during distressing times, even simple tasks can seem overwhelming and stressful. That's why Red Cross trained volunteers are currently working across Victoria, visiting affected residents to provide social and emotional  support as well as practical information and resources to assist residents.  

Red Cross is working in partnership with local councils to understand the recovery needs of affected communities and to determine how best to support their long-term recovery. In Ararat Rural City Council, our volunteers have joined teams of Council staff to support residents. 

Together with Mornington Peninsula Shire and Victorian Council of Churches, we are joining teams to visit residents in the Hastings, Bittern and Crib Point areas. We're assisting communities in the Grampian region to identify and address risks, and better prepare for any future events. 

We're also working with Strathbogie Shire, Rural City of Wangaratta and Rural City of Benalla to plan visits to provide social and emotional support and information to local residents.

Although temperatures in Victoria are now dropping from the extremes of the weekend and there are currently no fire dangers affecting communities, Red Cross will continue to assist those people who've already been affected, and will help prepare communities for future emergencies.

Donations to Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery provide valuable support for our Emergency Services teams.  Whenever you see a Red Cross person in action, you will know that your donation has played an important role in helping Red Cross respond to an emergency to help people in need.