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Adelaide Hills bushfires: road to recovery

Burnt out areas of South Australia will continue to receive support from Red Cross as they rebuild their homes and communities.

Thursday January 8, 2015

Burnt out areas of South Australia will continue to receive support from us over the long term as they rebuild their homes and communities. Credit: AAP Image/David Mariuz

Since the bushfires began to sweep through the Adelaide Hills, Red Cross has been working 24 hours a day to help evacuated individuals reconnect with friends and family and to provide psychological first aid to the most affected.

The Sampson Flat bushfires began to rage across the Adelaide Hills on Friday 2 January during conditions described as the worst since the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires that killed 28 people. Thankfully, there have been no reported fatalities this time round but the fires have caused severe destruction to both land and communities.

So far, more than 12,000 hectares and a total of 167 structures have been either destroyed or suffered major damage, while hundreds of people have been evacuated over the week. In response, 45 Red Cross staff and volunteers have been working 24 hours a day from two relief centres to help people reconnect with friends and family-registering over 1,000 people to the Register.Find.Reunite. service.

Now, as temperatures cool down and with heavy showers forecast for the next few days, the fires are finally being contained and the process of recovery can begin. As people start to return to their homes, many will be deeply affected by the week's events while others will have to face the reality of rebuilding their lives.

For people heavily affected by a disaster, even simple tasks can seem overwhelming and stressful. Psychological first aid provides a way of helping people deal with the difficult circumstances they find themselves in during distressing times.

Throughout the emergency, trained Red Cross staff and volunteers have been providing psychological first aid to those most affected by the fires: helping people come to terms with the week's events and giving practical assistance to people as they return to their homes and begin the process of recovery.

If you, or someone you know, has been affected by an emergency, Red Cross has a selection of informative online resources to help people understand the process of recovery and to assist them through this difficult time.

Over the coming days, Red Cross will work closely with local authorities to assess the need for ongoing recovery assistance within affected communities and will develop plans to provide further support where it can. Throughout the week, Red Cross has been encouraging people to donate to its disaster response and recovery work in SA and further afield.

Donations to Red Cross can be made online or by phoning 1800 811 700. Donations can also be made at any Coles store in South Australia, while NAB is accepting donations through branches across the state and through its internet banking service.