Inside the centre tears were flowing as people found each other among the crowds.
Families embraced. Children were swept up for hugs. Dogs were cuddled. All around was an almost tangible outpouring of love.
A couple anxiously awaits their grandchildren.
It’s the same compassion and kindness which has been pouring into Red Cross since the bushfire crisis began. The Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, which helps Red Cross teams to give people the support they need in emergencies, including the current bushfires and disasters yet to come, has raised more than $19 million since 31 December 2019, and the figure is rising all the time.
The volunteers at the front line
Lisa Carr was one of six Red Cross personnel working alongside military personnel supporting 1,200 evacuees on HMAS Choules.
Lisa Carr onboard HMAS Choules.
Speaking from the ship, she said they were all in various stages of their recovery.
“The military personnel are fantastic and made this a really positive experience in what’s been not quite the end of a really difficult time for them, when information has been really scarce and that’s very frustrating for people who just want a little bit of certainty. They made this experience for young and old a really positive one so that’s been really heart-warming.”
She was struck by the compassion the evacuees were showing to each other. “It’s the usual, ‘I’m OK; that person’s worse off than me.’ The humanity is always evident, it just rises to the surface in these really difficult situations.”