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Our response to the bushfires: 6 Feb 2020

Learn what Red Cross is doing to support communities affected by the Black Summer bushfires and how your donations are helping.

Just a few of the more than 2,800 dedicated Red Cross volunteers and staff who have been part of our bushfire response.


This week we announced new immediate assistance for bushfire-affected people in financial hardship.

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 online now, and our teams will continue to go out to recovery centres and knock on doors to help.  So far more than $21 million has been distributed to support immediate needs of people who have lost their homes.

Since July 2019, Red Cross teams have responded to more than 20 bushfires and supported people in 110 relief centres and recovery hubs. We’ve registered over 64,000 people through our Register.Find.Reunite service. More than 2,800 Red Cross people, mostly volunteers, have powered this relief effort.

Among other things our teams have been supporting people at evacuation, relief and recovery centres, registering people’s locations so their loved ones can contact them and providing psychosocial first aid to reduce trauma and distress.

We provided food, water and relief items to people cut off by fires in Victoria and have been conducting welfare checks on the phone and in person. Red Cross teams have been conducting psychosocial needs assessments in some affected communities, making home visits and outreach calls to people impacted and conducting needs assessments.

We are also creating a tailored recovery plan to support families and communities for the next three years or more.

Bushfire immediate assistance

Grants are available for people whose homes were destroyed or structurally damaged, and for people hospitalised for injuries in the fires

In Victoria, Red Cross teams are currently supporting people at Mallacoota’s relief centre, the Corryong Recovery Centre and providing psychosocial first aid for residents returning to Mallacoota.

They are visiting about 300 households to provide support and deliver care packages. As well they are working with Agriculture Victoria to make outreach calls to people who have faced significant livestock losses and conducting recovery planning, focussing on the human impacts of the fires.

To date Red Cross teams have worked at 15 relief centres. Among other things, they have provided psychological first aid to more than 15,900 people at relief and recovery centres and through outreach.

We have supported 18 isolated communities in the East Gippsland region and 495 people evacuated from Mallacoota. We facilitated pallets of water and food packs for people who remained in Mallacoota. Red Cross has been the only community organisation present in Mallacoota before, during and after the fires.

More than 1,440 Red Cross personnel have been involved in our response.

In New South Wales, our teams are currently supporting people at three relief centres and mobile outreach services operating across a number of areas.

We are making weekly outreach visits to communities in Bega and undertaking psychosocial recovery needs assessments in the most-affected communities. As well our teams are working with the NSW State Government to develop an extensive recovery program

Red Cross teams were at five evacuation centres in NSW and two in the ACT that opened in response to new bushfire dangers last weekend.

So far more than 770 Red Cross personnel have been involved in the response.

In South Australia, Red Cross 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 also 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.

Since the start of the 2019/20 summer more than 500 Red Cross personnel have been involved in our response. 

In Western Australia, our teams are currently checking on the wellbeing of 226 households in the Seatrees and Breakwater estates and continuing to visit people affected by the Yanchep-Two Ricks-Gingin fires in December.

They are also supporting our Victorian team with recovery planning and also to make outreach phone calls to Mallacoota residents and registering people through Register.Find.Reunite. for the Norseman Complex fires.

Peter and Nirbeeja have so far used their emergency grant money to start to replace some of the things they lost in the fires. A new printer for the office, food and fuel. The necessities they need to get back on their feet.


This week in numbers

  • Supported people at 110 relief centres and recovery hubs since July

  • Responded to more than 20 bushfires since July

  • More than 64,000 people registered through Register.Find.Reunite

  • More than 2,800 volunteers and staff deployed since July

How your donation is making a difference

Australian bushfires: how we’re using funds. Our plan to help people and communities recover well.

Financial assistance extended as bushfires continue

Announcing further immediate assistance for fire-affected people in financial hardship, including new grants for people hospitalised due to the fires and for homeowners whose properties suffered significant structural damage.

Resources to help you recover from a disaster

See our library of resources to help you and your family recover from an emergency. Please share with anyone you know who might need help.

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.