Our response to the bushfires: 24 Jan 2020

News and Press Release
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24 January update: What Red Cross is doing to support communities affected by this summer's bushfires and how your donations are helping.


Red Cross teams have been:

  • supporting people at evacuation, relief and recovery centres

  • registering people’s locations so their loved ones can contact them

  • providing psychosocial first aid to reduce trauma and distress

  • providing food, water and relief items to people cut off by fires in Victoria

  • conducting welfare checks on the phone and in person

  • providing $10,000 emergency grants to people who homes have been destroyed by bushfires. As of this morning, $8.2 million has gone to people whose homes have been destroyed. Currently, we’re getting a million dollars out the door each day

  • providing $20,000 bereavement payments to next of kin of people who have died as a result of the bushfires

  • conducting psychosocial needs assessments in some of the affected communities creating a tailored recovery plan to support families and communities for the next three years or more

In Victoria, more than 1,150 Red Cross personnel have been involved in the response supporting affected communities. They have been based at 15 relief centres providing psychological first aid to more than 2,500 people. Our teams have registered more than 29,780 people through Register.Find.Reunite. and have supported 18 isolated communities in the East Gippsland region.

They have also supported 495 people evacuated from Mallacoota to stay in relief centres. Red Cross was the only community organisation present in Mallacoota before, during and after the fires reached the community.

Currently Red Cross teams are supporting people at two relief centres, providing psychosocial first aid for residents returning to Mallacoota and starting recovery planning focusing on the human impacts of the fires.

In New South Wales, more than 650 Red Cross personnel have been involved in the response and since early November have provided support to people at more than 87 evacuation centres (all are now closed).

However with fires again threatening parts of NSW and the ACT our teams are ready to help at evacuation centres that opened yesterday in Bega and Moruya.

Red Cross teams are currently supporting people at three disaster welfare points, making regular visits to communities in Bega and undertaking psychosocial recovery needs assessments in the most-affected communities. We have registered more than 19,300 people through Register.Find.Reunite.

Red Cross is also working with the State Government to develop an extensive recovery program.

Since the start of the 2019/20 summer more than 350 Red Cross personnel have been involved in our response in South Australia.

Currently they are supporting people at the Lobethal Recovery Hub in the Adelaide Hills and the newly opened 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 fires. Planning has also started for outreach on Kangaroo Island.

In South Australia we have registered more than 7,500 people through Register.Find.Reunite.

Earlier Red Cross teams supported people at five relief centres, including 500 people who went to the Kingscote Relief Centre during the Kangaroo Island fires.

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

They are also supporting our Victorian team with recovery planning and to make outreach phone calls to Mallacoota residents.

Since December 2019 we have registered more than 840 people through Register.Find.Reunite.