THIS week marks the fifth year anniversary of the Black Saturday bushfires which devastated Victorian communities and led to one of Australian Red Cross’s largest ever relief and recovery programs.
Red Cross Emergency Services State Manager, Adam Dent, said the anniversary was a time of reflection for the thousands of people who lost loved ones, friends and colleagues as well as the Red Cross staff and volunteerswho were at the front line of the response and continue to support communities to this day.
“The bushfires caused huge upheaval for many communities in Victoria. For many the anniversary will be a celebration of how far they have come in the years since the disaster occurred. For others the anniversary will be a stressful time, as heightened interest in theevent brings back painful memories,” Mr Dent said.
“There is no set timeline for recovery from a disaster. Some people will have moved on, while others continue to beprone to feelings of anxiety, sadness andfrustration as a result of what they have lived through, what they have lost and the challenges of re-establishing their lives.”
“Red Cross has been with the community every step of the way. Around 1,600 volunteers and staff from around the country responded immediately, supporting people in relief centres across the state, reconnecting friends and family through the Register.Find.Reunite. service. Volunteers provided food and water for people in relief centres as well as fire fighters, police and other emergency services personnel.
“Since the catastrophic event, another 400 volunteers have supported Victorian communities in their recovery.Volunteers and staff have been there at community recovery events and visited people in their homes and businesses to offer a listening ear and provide links to relevant local services.
“Anniversaries like this are always a timely reminder of the importance of being prepared for an emergency. As time passes it is easy to become complacent. It is so important for communities to continue to take the time to be prepared. People can download an emergency plan from the Red Cross website.”
Red Cross’s recovery work in Victoria continues. Donations to Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery to support the important work in this area and can be made at www.redcross.org.au.
Source: Red Cross Australia