Australian Red Cross responds to bushfire
In response to the worst wildfires in the country since February 1983, the Australian Red Cross is receiving unprecedented volunteer and financial support from the Australian public.
Both fires are in the eastern part of Victoria, a southeastern state, and have stretched across 1,200 square miles in only a few days. In their path, over 130 people have died and more than 750 homes have been destroyed, many within an area north of Melbourne that had already earned the name “the Big Dry.”
Temperatures climbed above 105 degrees over the weekend.
In response, the Australian Red Cross is running about 20 evacuation centers with the help of more than 400 volunteers and staff. These volunteers have helped to:
• register the names of people affected by the fires so that family and friends can contact Red Cross to check that they are safe and well
• provide meals for fire fighters, police and other emergency services personnel, as well as people in relief centers
• provide first aid to assist emergency services personnel and affected people
• provide personal support to volunteers: emotional support, information and referrals to recovery services
The Australian Red Cross has also partnered with the Australian Government to create the 2009 Victorian Bushfire Fund to assist individuals and communities affected by devastating bushfires. To date, the Fund has received more than AU$10.4 million from over 60,000 website and phone donations, with local corporations and governments pledging additional aid in response.
For more information, or to donate to the response effort, visit the Australian Red Cross website.