Disasters and emergencies

When the worst happens, we help Australians prepare, cope and recover

One in three of us will face a disaster or major emergency.

  • Each year, the bushfire season starts earlier and lasts longer.

  • Cyclones and flash floods are becoming more frequent and intense.
  • Many parts of Australia are still in drought, affecting our farmers.
  • Acts of public violence, like the Bourke Street incident, can traumatise whole communities

Fewer than one in five of us has a plan for an emergency.

  • The better we prepare, the better we can recover
  • Preparation is not just what you’d pack if you had to leave your home; it’s how you think, who you call and what you value.

Karen and Rob

Karen and Rob's story

A massive flood ruined the home Karen and Rob loved in Logan., Queensland. It was triggered by intense rains following Cyclone Debbie.

They lost photos, records, tools, a caravan and garden equipment. The clean-up lasted a year, and took almost all their time and savings.

Red Cross case worker Michelle visited them often, just like others who’d been affected by the floods. She provided psychological first aid to help Rob and Karen process the trauma they’d endured, connected them to services they needed, helped them access funds from the government, and just checked in on them.

Karen says the biggest act of kindness was that Michelle got her new prescription glasses, which she hadn’t been able to afford, as well as carpets for their home.

Karen says it’s this mix of practical and personal support that stopped her from feeling overwhelmed, and let her plan her next steps. “We got stuck in a really bad situation and I’m so grateful for Red Cross coming to our aid and getting us through it.”

What does Red Cross do about this problem?

  • When emergencies happen, we provide psychological first aid at the scene. It helps people feel calm again and can prevent distress from becoming trauma.
  • We help people get in touch with their loved ones if they’ve had to flee their homes.
  • We help with small practical things like food vouchers and clothing if needed.
  • We follow up with people in the days and weeks afterwards, making sure they’re coping and know what’s available to help them.
  • Most of all, we help people prepare for any emergency, by making a plan that’s right for them and their family, wherever they live and whatever risks they face.


Last year:

  • We responded to 48 disasters – from bushfires to flood and cyclones – and 333 single incidents, including house fires and homicides.
  • We were there for 12,674 people in the aftermath of an emergency
  • We supported 35,963 people to recover from an emergency, whether through phone calls and home visits, or being there to talk to at community events and memorials.
  • We helped 208,000 Australians to prepare for an emergency.


How can you help?

Your regular gift to Red Cross means we can help people cope with emergencies:

  • Psychological first aid
  • Trained emergency workers
  • Emergency accommodation and food
  • Disaster preparedness plans



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