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Red Cross remains on the ground in disaster-affected communities around the country

22 November 2019

After more than two weeks of unprecedented bushfires Red Cross continues to help thousands of people caught up in the disasters across Australia.    

Red Cross has supported people in 41 evacuation centres across three states, registered well over 5,400 people and made more than 800 welfare calls to older Australians affected by heat. The fires have so far claimed six lives, destroyed 631 homes, and burnt more than 1.5 million hectares. 

“After more than two weeks of relentless bushfires as well as heatwaves across Australia, we’re hearing stories of people coming to terms with the tragic loss of life and homes, while many others have been on high alert for days and weeks with dangerous weather conditions,” says Andrew Coghlan, Head of Emergencies for Australian Red Cross.  

“More than 190 trained Red Cross emergency services personnel have been responding at more than 40 locations, providing psychological first aid, personal support, and information. We work together with local authorities, agencies and communities providing initial support, and we’re on hand throughout the recovery stages. 

“Our work will extend beyond the current response to the bushfires, and we’re now mapping how we will work to support communities in their long road to recovery.  

“Red Cross supports people as we’re needed: whether that’s help prepare, a safe place to take shelter, psychological first aid, information and practical support, through the months, and even years it can take to recover.”  

Meanwhile Mr Coghlan says if people are in an affected area they can contact Red Cross’ Register.Find.Reunite service at register.redcross.org.au to let people know they are OK. Similarly if people are unable to contact a loved one in the affected areas they can register there.

Red Cross by numbers

In South Australia, we’ve made around 800 phone calls to check on elderly or isolated people during this week’s heatwave. We also supported people who evacuated their homes after the Yorktown fire.

In New South Wales, we supported people in 31 evacuation centres, nine of which remain open. We’re also helping at the Public Information and Inquiry Centre in Sydney and pop-up Disaster Welfare Assistance Points at affected areas across the state.  

In Queensland, our teams supported 741 people across eight evacuation centres. We’re now offering information and support at three recovery hubs and calling people affected by the fires to check on their wellbeing. 

Media inquiries: Angela Lemme alemme@redcross.org.au or 0437 331 310. After 5pm media@redcross.org.au or +61 2 8265 3074 (diverts to mobile after hours)