As fires sweep across parts of South Australia, Red Cross is on the ground, giving support to those seeking refuge in the area's relief centres.
Thursday November 26, 2015
A hay shed burns on a property north of Adelaide where a bushfire is burning out of control. Credit: AAP Image/Brenton Edwards.
Red Cross staff and volunteers are on the ground in response to the Pinery Fire in South Australia, providing support to people caught up in the devastating fires that have swept through the region.
Three relief centres have been opened in surrounding areas. Red Cross workers are providing psychosocial support to local residents as they arrive.
"Our volunteers are stationed at the relief centres in Gawler, Balaklava and Clare, providing practical assistance, emotional support and information to those who are taking shelter there," Jai O'Toole, Red Cross State Manager of Emergency Services, says. "People heading to the relief centres are going through a really tough time at the moment, and we're doing all we can to help."
Red Cross teams at the relief centres are also registering people with Register. Find. Reunite - a service that helps reunite families during emergencies. Anyone worried about their loved ones in the affected area can check for news by phoning 1800 727 077 or online at register.redcross.org.au. Red Cross staff and volunteers have been manning the 1800 number since Wednesday night and will continue to do so as long as it is needed.
"Register.Find.Reunite. is the simplest way to let your family and friends know you're okay or to find out if your loved ones are safe," says Mr O'Toole. "Being separated from family and friends is one of the most stressful things a person can experience during an emergency. Not knowing where your loved ones are, not being able to get a hold of them by phone or email adds to that anxiety.
"Two people have been killed in the fire, with further deaths unconfirmed, while the South Australian Ambulance Service has treated 21 people with 14 of them being transferred to hospital-four currently in critical condition.
The fire has so far burnt approximately 100,000 hectares, with numerous houses and vehicles lost. Although the fire status has been downgraded to a 'watch and act' overnight, fire activity remains across the entire fire-ground and around many townships including Owen, Hamley Bridge, Tarlee, Freeling, Wasleys, Kapunda, Greenock and surrounding areas. Members of the public have been asked to remain vigilant and exercise caution.
To help Red Cross provide valuable assistance in times of emergency and help people prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters like the Pinery fires, donate to the Disaster Relief and Recovery fund. Donations can be made online right now at redcross.org.au/disaster-relief-and-recovery or by calling 1800 811 700.