Australian Red Cross teams are supporting communities affected by multiple bushfires in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.
Our specialist emergency volunteers are providing psychological first aid, working at evacuation centres and helping people to get in touch with their loved ones.
"This little community is exceptional – very close-knit,” says Margaret Kiehne, a volunteer at the Glen Innes evacuation centre in New South Wales. “There is total shock… they all thought that they were reasonably prepared and the fire came at such a pace.
“They just couldn’t believe that it travelled as quickly as it did. A lot of them had to leave without anything at all. They turned up at the evacuation centre in only the clothes they stand up in.
“It’s extremely emotional – particularly the children,” says Margaret. “The children came out in two convoys. The first convoy came with a number of small children and we were doing our best to comfort them. But when the second lot of children came, the joy … those children just raced to each other and cuddled. They were so overcome that they had escaped as well."
More than 60 Red Cross volunteers, just like Margaret, are currently supporting people at 16 evacuation centres across New South Wales. Meanwhile, in Queensland 16 of our volunteers are helping people who have taken refuge from the fires at five evacuation centres.