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Our response to the bushfires: 17 Jan 2020

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

Working alongside the army and air force, we are providing care packages of food, toiletries and hygiene and relief items to be airdropped into Mallacoota. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Rodney Dekker


This week in Victoria, our teams are on the ground supporting people at seven relief centres.

They are also coordinating food and water at all the centres plus food hampers, water, hygiene kits and pet supplies to be delivered to Mallacoota. As well they have been distributing satellite phones to 18 communities in East Gippsland who are isolated due to power issues.

Our volunteers have provided psychosocial first aid to more than 2,500 people at relief centres and have registered more than 26,000 people through our service to connect those caught up in the bushfires. Red Cross personnel helped at a mobile recovery hub in Bruthen this week and at weekend will head to Cobungra Fire Station.

This weekend they will be at the Sale RAAF air force base to support residents returning to Mallacoota. Telephone outreach is also about to start to Mallacoota residents.

A significant portion of the areas affected by bushfire are home to First Nations communities, including Gunnai/Kurnai, Bidwall and Yorta Yorta. We are coordinating with these communities and working to ensure they are supported. First Nations local leaders will also be key participants in our community-led recovery programming.

In New South Wales, Red Cross teams are currently supporting people at one evacuation centre, four disaster welfare points and two recovery centres.

They are also making regular visits to people in Bega. In Wagga Wagga, they are supporting people who are facing language barriers and undertaking needs assessments in the most-affected communities. As well they have registered more than 18,850 people through Register.Find.Reunite.

To date just over 600 Red Cross personnel have been involved in our bushfire response in NSW.

In South Australia, our teams are currently supporting people at the Lobethal Recovery Hub and at the Kingscote Relief Centre in Kangaroo Island. They are providing psychological first aid at community meetings, relief and recovery centres and are conducting recovery outreach in person and over the phone. In South Australia, we have registered more than 7.000 people through Register.Find.Reunite.

In Western Australia, Red Cross teams are now supporting relief efforts for people stranded in Esperance and Kalgoorlie. They are providing stranded travellers in Kalgoorlie with showers, water and other support.

As well our teams are checking on the wellbeing of people in 226 households on the Seatrees and Breakwater estates and are visiting people affected by the Yanchep-Two Ricks-Gingin fires in December. Register.Find.Reunite, our service connecting families during times of disaster, is currently open for the Norseman Complex bushfires and 150 people have registered so far.

Emergency 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

  • Supported people at 103 evacuation and relief centres since July

  • Responded to more than 20 bushfires since July

  • More than 52,000 people registered through Register.Find.Reunite

  • More than 1,920 volunteers and staff deployed since July

How we're using donations

Donations have been powering our nationwide response to the bushfires since they began in September. This is the next part of our plan for how we will use these funds to support bushfire-affected communities.

This is what people go through in disasters

The whole range of human emotion is on show, right now, sometimes all at once. The very nature of emergency or disaster both takes away some of the boundaries, and sharpens the focus.

The world is thinking of us

From musicians to gamers to school kids, messages of support and donations pour in from all over Australia and around the world. Here are just a few of them.

  • Celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay, Eric Ripert and Guillaume Brahimi are raising funds
  • As is American National Basketball Association team the Windy City Bulls
  • Goodtype, a global community of lettering artists and illustrators, held a #goodtypetuesday on the bushfires
  • Fire Fight Australia, a fundraising concert featuring Queen, Alice Cooper and Olivia Newton-John, was announced this week and sold out within 24 hours
  • Imaginatively Unimaginative teamed up with other artists to hold a fundraising stream on YouTube this week
  • In Los Angeles UK DJ and producer Chris Lake and Friends held a sell-out benefit gig
  • The UN Chamber Music Society will collect donations at an upcoming concert in New York
  • Tiltify, a platform that allows gamers to add a donate option in their Twitch streams, is also helping raise funds

Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund

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


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