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Our response to the bushfires: 10 Jan 2020

Learn what Red Cross is doing to support communities affected by this summer's bushfires and how your donations are helping.

Royal Australian Air Force Sergeant Josh Baker briefs Royal Australian Air Force and Red Cross personnel on flying conditions before departure from the RAAF Base East Sale during Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20. Photo: Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence


This week Red Cross teams have been:

  • supporting people at evacuation and relief centres
  • registering people so their loved ones can contact them
  • providing psychological first aid to reduce trauma and distress
  • providing food, water and relief items to people cut off by fires in Victoria
  • conducting welfare checks on the phone and in-person
  • providing emergency grants to people who have lost homes to bushfires

In Victoria, our teams are now supporting people at nine relief centres. They are providing food and water at all the centres and coordinating a further 800 food hampers plus water, hygiene kits and pet supplies to be delivered to people in Mallacoota. As well they are helping get satellite phones to 18 communities who are isolated due to power issues in East Gippsland.

In New South Wales, our teams are now supporting people at five evacuation centres and providing information at six disaster welfare points. They are also conducting needs assessments in the most-affected communities and supporting people facing language barriers.

In South Australia, teams are supporting people at the Lobethal Recovery Hub and the Kingscote Relief Centre in Kangaroo Island. They have been attending community meetings where they provide psychological first aid and have also been checking in on people’s welfare via telephone. 

In Western Australia, teams are now supporting people affected by a bushfire at Toodyay and registering people affected by bushfires as well as Cyclone Blake. Teams are also conducting outreach with people affected by fires in December.

Grants are currently open across Australia for people whose primary place of residence has been destroyed or made uninhabitable by the fires since July 2019. 

This week in numbers

  • More than 20,000 people helped since July

  • Almost 38,600 people registered through Register.Find.Reunite

  • 1,920 volunteers and staff deployed since July

  • Responded to more than 30 emergencies, mostly fires or heatwaves since July

Leaving Mallacoota

Cut off from the world by bushfires, the only way out of the tiny Victorian town of Mallacoota was by ship. Red Cross teams were there with 1,200 evacuees every step of the way.

Surviving the fires

“[Red Cross] gave my three-year-old daughter a Trauma Teddy and she hasn’t let it out of her sight,” says Chelsea. We have helped Chelsea and her family with accommodation, food and other essentials.

Ramping up our emergency work

We’re expanding our work helping bushfire-affected communities to recover, as well as increasing cash grants to people who have lost their homes in the bushfires since July 2019.

Messages of support and donations pour in from all over Australia and around the world

On Tuesday we had a visit from 11-year-old Arham from Victoria. Arham donated $132.20, all of the pocket money he had been saving for a year, to the Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. Carolyne Doherty from our Emergency Services team took him and his family on a tour of our emergency centre.

Plus ... 

Last week's update: Our response to the bushfires – 3 Jan 2020

Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund

Your donation helps Red Cross give people the support they need in disasters, whenever and wherever they happen.


More on the Emergency Services blog

Australian Bushfires

Report: January 2020–June 2021

Mt Beauty’s journey of resilience

After 2020’s devastating bushfires, the community of Mt Beauty has come together to recover – and get better prepared for the next disaster.

Australian Bushfires

Grants and recovery program update December 2020.