To date, more than 2,800 Red Cross people, most of whom are volunteers, have been called to help in response to the bushfires that have hit the country since last July.
Our teams have supported people at evacuation, relief and recovery centres and registered more than 65,000 people so their loved ones could contact them. They have been providing psychosocial first aid to reduce trauma and distress, offering comfort and connecting people with services and support.
Teams are currently working at a number of recovery centres and also conducting welfare checks on the phone and in person with affected communities. They are carrying out psychosocial needs assessments in some communities and are creating tailored recovery plans to support people for the next three years or more.
Red Cross also has a range of emergency grants available. A $5,000 grant is available for homeowners whose primary place of residence was structurally damaged in the bushfires. A $7,500 grant is available for people who have spent two days or more in hospital for injuries or mental health conditions as a direct result of the bushfires.
We’re also providing up to $20,000 to homeowners whose primary residence was destroyed and who are still experiencing financial hardship. People can apply for the grants online and our teams continue to go out to recovery centres and knock on doors to help people with applications.
In Victoria specifically, Red Cross teams are currently providing support at Mallacoota’s relief centre while in Bairnsdale they are working at the town’s information centre. They are also providing support at community meetings and for other outreach activities.
Red Cross personnel are helping at the Corryong Recovery Centre and are part of the multi-agency mobile bushfire recovery service visiting households to offer support and deliver care packages.
Our telephone outreach volunteers have been contacting people referred by Agriculture Victoria, police and field volunteers. Many of the people our teams are speaking with are feeling overwhelmed and some may have existing mental health issues exacerbated by the emergency.
Red Cross volunteers from Western Australia are helping to make outreach calls to Mallacoota’s residents and visitors.
Recovery planning continues with a focus on human impacts of the fires and we continue to work closely with local First Nations communities as part of response and community-led recovery planning.
To date, more than 1,440 Red Cross personnel have been involved in our response supporting more than 15,900 people in Victoria.
In New South Wales, our teams continue to support a range of recovery activities across the state.
On the South Coast, we are working at three recovery centres. Each day more than 100 new people visit the Batemans Bay centre and 70 new visitors call in at the Ulladulla centre. In this region we are also part of a mobile outreach services operating out of the recovery centres, as well as providing support at community meetings.
On the Mid North Coast, volunteers are part of the outreach teams visiting small fire-affected communities and are supporting a number of community lead recovery activities and events.
Meanwhile, in the Hawkesbury, Lithgow, the Southern Highlands and the Snowy Mountains we are part of multi-agency mobile recovery outreach teams visiting small communities and in some areas we are also providing support at community meetings. In New England and the North Coast, we are, among other things, providing support at community recovery meetings and supporting recovery workers.
We are working with the NSW State Government to develop an extensive recovery program. So far, more than 770 Red Cross personnel have been deployed as part of our bushfire response.
In South Australia, more than 500 Red Cross people have been part of bushfire response.
Our teams are currently supporting people at the Lobethal Recovery Hub in the Adelaide Hills and the King Island Recovery Centre in Parndana on Kangaroo Island.
They are providing psychosocial first aid training to children’s services staff, volunteers and the public and conducting recovery outreach in person and over the phone for the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island fires.
Volunteers are also providing outreach support for affected communities on the Yorke Peninsula, in particular at Price, Yorketown, Edithburgh and Coobowie.
In Western Australia, over the weekend we were activated to manage an evacuation centre at Katanning where about 300 people took shelter from a bushfire. Volunteers continue to provide support at the centre. Our teams are visiting families whose homes were impacted by this fire and liaising with schools and providing support.