Then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd checked on survivors at the Whittlesea evacuation centre, where many sought care and support. More than 1,000 Red Cross people worked in over 20 relief centres, Recovery Centres and Community Service Hubs.
7 February 2012 marks the third anniversary of the devastating bushfires that affected Victoria in 2009. Red Cross pays its respects to those people who lost loved ones, friends, homes, businesses, pets and communities, and to those who have supported them over the past three years.
Anniversaries can be very stressful, as heightened interest in the event leads people to reflect on the disruption caused to their lives by the disaster. As part of our recovery program, we are urging people to be aware of the longer term psychological impacts of disaster, and seek support accordingly. Red Cross has a range of resources that can support people through this time.
Red Cross Bushfire Recovery team
Some of the work that the Victorian Bushfire Recovery team has been involved in includes:
Personal support outreach
As at December 2011, Red Cross volunteers had visited more than 4,400 households in communities impacted by the bushfires, providing information, emotional support and referrals where needed. We are continuing to work with communities and agencies over the long term, and have shared our recovery learning outcomes with Red Cross teams in Queensland, Western Australia and New Zealand.
Personal support at events
Red Cross volunteers continue to provide personal support at events in bushfire impacted communities such as community meetings and celebrations.
Red Cross worked with communities impacted by the 2009 Bushfires to identify a number of resource gaps. To address these gaps, Red Cross has developed a number of resources, including MP3 players and a website supporting young people affected by emergencies, an information resource for parents, and a guide to recovery communications for people and agencies charged with communicating information after an emergency.
Red Cross is supporting people affected by the 2009 bushfires in preparing for future emergencies.
Red Cross is also involved in other activities supporting communities affected by the 2009 bushfires, including partnering with the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement to facilitate a bushfire bereavement support group, participating in state and local advisory committees and supporting the Strathewen community develop its bushfire memorial.
For more information about what communities affected by the bushfires can expect to be going through at this time, read Dr Rob Gordon's article from February 2012, What to expect in the fourth year.
You can contact the Victorian Recovery team on 03 8327 7805 or email us.
2009 Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund
In February 2009 Australians came together in an unprecedented display of support for people affected by the Victorian bushfires.
The Victorian Bushfire Appeal 2009 raised more than $379 million, which was transferred to a trust account established by the Victorian Government. This, together with interest and other donations paid directly to the Victorian Government, means that more than $389 million has been available to support individuals and communities impacted.
An Independent Advisory Panel oversees the Fund's operation and the allocation of funds. Red Cross CEO Robert Tickner is one member of this panel.
A report outlining how funds raised by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal have been allocated and distributed is available through the DHS Fire Recovery page.
2009 Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission report
The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission Report was presented to the Governor of Victoria on 31 July 2010 and then tabled in the Victorian Parliament. You can visit the Royal Commission website or access the final report.
VBRRA Useful contacts guide
DHS Fire Recovery Unit
2009 Bushfire Royal Commission
Australian Centre for Grief & Bereavement
ABC Black Saturday page
A number of affected communities keep up-to-date blogs. If you're looking for location specific information, you can search for the community online. While not all of the communities have sites, some with an online presence include:
- St Andrews
Media inquiries: James Molan on 0448 571 484
Photo: Australian Red Cross / Rodney Dekker