Tracy has a full-time office job, which she took time off from to help support those affected by the bushfires. Before arriving at the Kempsey evacuation centre, she was at the Laurieton evacuation centre, where 1200 people were sheltering from the fires. Then she was called to the Taree centre where around 300 people had slept the night before she arrived.
“There were a lot of people who had lost everything. There were people who had self-evacuated and people feeling guilty about leaving their property behind. We had to work with departments to find them emergency accommodation,” she says.
At Kempsey it’s a similar situation.
“There are a lot of people here realising what has happened, the enormity of the situation, and a lot of people are coming to get some assistance. They’ve lost fences, they’ve got animals that have no feed and things like that.”
Tracy is just one of many volunteers there to greet people as they arrive at the centre. They help register people, contact loved ones, provide information and advice, link people to specialist services, and are there to be a listening ear. They’re also trained in psychological first aid. Research has found that the earlier people can have this type of support at the time of a trauma, the better their recovery will be.
We go all in when disaster strikes, turning the generosity of the Australian community into effective support for the people who have experienced trauma and loss. Donate to Red Cross Calling this March and help us continue this work.