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QLD and NSW bushfires: Red Cross responds

11 November 2019

Red Cross is calling on people impacted by the bushfire emergencies across Queensland and New South Wales to remain vigilant and keep a close eye on loved ones and others in the community.

National Emergency Services Manager Andrew Coghlan says more than 80 Red Cross volunteers have been on the ground in more than 21 evacuation centres in the worst-affected fire zones in the two states.

“We have seen and heard amazing stories of community spirit and resourcefulness and we urge people to continue to take good care of their loved ones as the worst is yet to come in many areas,” he says.

The fires have already claimed three lives, destroyed more than 150 homes and in NSW alone more than 850,000 hectares of land has been razed. Large numbers of blazes continue in both states, with forecasters warning of unprecedented conditions in the days ahead.

“Red Cross teams are supporting communities affected by multiple bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland. Our specialist emergency volunteers are providing psychological first aid, working at evacuation centres and helping people to get in touch with their loved ones,” Mr Coghlan says.

“They are telling us people are feeling distressed about any animals they’ve had to leave behind, they’ve been shocked at the speed of the fires, and as always in a disaster, they are grateful for information, and for help accessing government funding relief.

“In all of these things, our volunteers are trained to respond. We look after the humanitarian impact of disasters, and are there on the ground, providing a friendly face, a listening ear, advice and referrals for information.

“We are encouraging all people in the affected areas to register to let people know they are safe. For others who are concerned about loved ones in these zones, they can also use our Register.Find.Reunite service, either online at register.redcross.org.au or by phone. The numbers are: NSW 1800 227 228 and in Qld 1800 442 182.

“Red Cross also has good resources to help people affected by emergencies – including how to prepare, responding and advice on recovery. These are available online, at evacuation centres and outreach centres.

“You can also help support our emergency work across Australia and the Asia-Pacific region with a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery. Your donation may be tax-deductible. Please donate now at redcross.org.au or by calling 1800-RED-CROSS (733 276) Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

MEDIA CONTACT: Susan Cullinan, scullinan@redcross.org.au, 0448 326 335