Our response to the bushfires: 30 Jan 2020

News and Press Release
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Learn 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 hundreds of residents and tourists returning to Mallacoota for the first time since being evacuated earlier this month.

Our volunteers, whose role was to provide emotional support, accompanied some 350 people aboard Air Force flights over the long weekend. They were returning to the Victorian town to collect their cars, caravans and boats, reunite with friends and process what they had been through.

Red Cross teams have also been calling and visiting people in areas such as Corryong in Victoria, Bega in New South Wales and Lobethal in South Australia. They’ve been supporting people at evacuation centres in Moruya, Narooma and Cooma in New South Wales and helping out at the Parndana recovery centre on Kangaroo Island, South Australia.

This week our voluntary advisory panel met to help make decisions on how best to use the funds we have raised to help people recover.

To date, we have provided more than 1,180 emergency grants each worth $10,000 (totalling $11.8 million) to people whose homes have been destroyed by bushfires. We are distributing about $1 million per day in grants.

We are also providing $20,000 bereavement payments to next of kin of people who died as a result of the bushfires.

What we have been doing by state

In Victoria, more than 1,280 Red Cross personnel have been involved in the response supporting 14,320 people across the state.

Currently, our teams are focused on providing psychosocial first aid to people returning to Mallacoota and supporting those at the town’s relief centre, as well as recovery planning, focussing on the human impacts of the fires.

To date, we have worked in 15 relief centres where we provided psychological first aid to more than 2,500 people and have also registered more than 29,873 people through Register.Find.Reunite.

Over the summer our teams have supported 18 isolated communities in the East Gippsland region and 495 people evacuated from Mallacoota. Red Cross is the only community organisation that has been present in Mallacoota before, during and after the fires.

In New South Wales, so far more than 700 Red Cross personnel have been involved in the response.

Our teams are currently supporting people at three relief centres and four disaster welfare points. They are making weekly outreach visits to communities in Bega, undertaking psychosocial recovery needs assessments in the most-affected communities and working with the NSW State Government to develop an extensive recovery program.

We have registered more than 22,112 people through Register.Find.Reunite. Red Cross’ role includes supporting people at evacuation centres. More than 90 centres have been opened across NSW since 7 November with three currently open in Moruya, Narooma and Cooma.

In South Australia, more than 430 Red Cross personnel have been involved in our response supporting affected communities this summer.

Our 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.

In SA, this summer we have registered more than 7,914 people through Register.Find.Reunite.

Earlier Red Cross supported people at five relief centres, including for 500 people who evacuated to the Kingscote Relief Centre because of the Kangaroo Island fires.

In Western Australia, Red Cross teams currently continue to check on people’s wellbeing in the Seatrees and Breakwater estates and visit people affected by the Yanchep-Two Ricks-Gingin fires in December.

As well, they are supporting our Victorian team with recovery planning and also to make outreach phone calls to Mallacoota residents

Since December 2019 we have registered more than 989 people through Register.Find.Reunite., including the current Morseman Complex fires.