For further information please contact
Telephone: 0044 (0)20 7877 7044, email: PSims@redcross.org.uk, out of hours: 07659 145 095
The British Red Cross has launched an appeal in response to the bushfires that have devastated communities in Australia.
Thousands of people affected by the bushfires raging across large parts of Victoria, Australia have been left homeless, and many homes are still at risk. Over 180 people have died, with the number expected to increase.
The British Red Cross Australian Bushfires Appeal (www.redcross.org.uk/bushfires or 0845 054 7201) will support Australian Red Cross, who are working across Victoria, providing care and medical assistance to those who have fled their burning homes.
Australian Red Cross chief executive, Robert Tickner, said: "We are seeing devastation on a massive scale and we still don't know the full extent of it.
"We are continuing to see physically and emotionally exhausted people arriving at our relief centres and we are expecting more to arrive over the next few days.
“One man arrived at a relief centre this morning after spending 36 hours lost in burnt-out bush. He was covered from head to toe in soot and ash and was very disoriented. This is just one of thousands of incredible stories we are hearing from the centres around the state.”
Red Cross staff and volunteers are working at 20 relief centres to support those who have fled their burning homes. They are providing meals for fire fighters, police, and people in the relief centres. First aid volunteers are assisting emergency services personnel and other affected people by treating fire related injuries like minor burns and smoke inhalation.
- To donate to the British Red Cross Australian Bushfires Appeal go to www.redcross.org.uk/bushfires or call 0845 054 7201. Cheques payable to British Red Cross can be sent to British Red Cross, 44 Moorfields, London EC2Y 9AL
- Relatives concerned about family members in the affected areas can contact the Australian Red Cross 24 hour help line on 0061 393 283 716. Alternatively please contact the British Red Cross international tracing and message services on 0845 053 2004
Notes to editors
Money raised by British Red Cross Australian Bushfires Appeal will go to the Australian Red Cross, who are working with the federal government of Australia to reach those most in need.
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.