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Recovering from the bushfires: 13 Mar 2020

How we’re helping communities recover from the Black Summer bushfires and how your donations are helping.


After 72 days, 3,100 shifts and 42,006 hours, our Victorian Incident Management Team has stood down and passed the baton to our recovery teams. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Alex Hahn.

Now that what’s been called the ‘Black Summer’ has ended, Australia is taking stock of its losses and planning how to move forward.

We know that 18.6 million hectares have burned and more than 3,500 homes are gone. Worst of all, 34 people died in the fires.

But we know that Australians stood together like never before, and the world stood with us. And as the clean-up continues and rebuilding begins, we will recover together.

Snapshot

  • The Australian Government has established the National Bushfire Recovery Agency
  • Red Cross emergency response teams are standing down, and recovery teams are gearing up
  • To date, over 2,780 Australians have received a Red Cross bushfire grant, totalling more than $50 million.
  • We are appointing recovery officers to help each community develop a recovery program that’s right for them. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recovery officers will be a critical part of our recovery workforce.

In Victoria, we continue to support people in recovery centres in Bairnsdale, Mallacoota, Corryong and Tallangatta. We’re also offering disaster recovery training to local community agencies.

Significant areas affected by the bushfires are home to First Nations communities, including the Gunaikurnai and Bidawal peoples. We are walking with these communities, to understand the deep losses they have faced and how we can support them.

In New South Wales and the ACT, we’re supporting people at recovery centres and going door-to-door to check on people in Batemans Bay, Ulladulla, Narooma, Bega and Snowy Valley (Batlow Tumut area), Snowy Mountains, and Queanbeyan.

We’re also providing psychological first aid at community recovery events, working with local and state government on recovery planning, connecting with schools and delivering our Pillowcase Program workshops to help children feel better equipped to cope with emergencies.

In South Australia, we’re still supporting people at recovery centres on Kangaroo Island and Lobethal, as well as visiting hundreds of properties at Cudlee Creek, Kangaroo Island, Yorketown and Keilira.

Queensland may have experienced fires earlier than other states, but recovery is ongoing. We continue to support communities in Sunshine Coast, Yeppoon, Bundaberg and other parts of south-east Queensland.

Our Bushfire Advisory Panel meets regularly to review emerging needs and how we can support them through funds generously donated by the public.

Hope from the ashes

Meet some of the people you’ve helped get back on their feet after the bushfires.

Renewal through art

Art workshops are helping bushfire communities heal.

Sheltering together on the beach during the fires

The people alongside to help survive the disaster came from just over the fence.