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Australia: the Red Cross in action

10 January 2020

Extreme temperatures, dry conditions and winds have combined to cause or worsen hundreds of bush fires in five Australian states, in an unprecedented fire season. The Red Cross is on the ground, serving the victims.

People wishing to support the victims of these fires can do so by a donation to the Australian Red Cross or by a donation to the Luxembourg Red Cross, which will centralize them before passing them on to its sister company (IBAN account LU52 1111 0000 1111 0000, Communication: Australia 2020).

So far, more than 5 million hectares of land have been burned. More than 20 people have died, hundreds of properties have been destroyed and nearly half a billion animals have been killed. Entire cities have been evacuated. Smoke, ash and fire dust cover many cities (and reach other countries like New Zealand), compromising air quality and causing respiratory and health problems.

Australian Red Cross staff and volunteers are on the ground and supporting affected communities across the country. Teams went to evacuation and relief centers to provide psychosocial support, food and water, hygiene items and satellite phones to communities cut off from the rest of the world. Since July 2019, more than 20,000 people have been supported.

Whole communities have been evacuated and others have had their access routes cut, as have communications and energy distribution networks, making it more difficult to obtain up-to-date information on the needs of victims.