Released 19 February 2009
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The Salvation Army in Australia is still working tirelessly to provide financial, material and emotional support to emergency workers and victims of the bushfires in the state of Victoria. Latest reports show that 11 fires are still burning out of control, 7,000 people are homeless and the death toll - which is expected to rise - now stands at 189.
The Salvation Army continues to work at 12 locations, providing cash, material aid distribution and chaplaincy services. Around 3,000 meals a day are being served to firefighters and other emergency services personnel. An outreach program to families who have returned to their damaged properties is also under way.
The Australia Southern Territory's public appeal has so far raised Aus$12.2 million, of which more than $2.5 million has already been used to assist almost 5,000 adults and 2,000 children.
As the focus moves from emergency relief to a sustainable recovery, a dedicated central call center has been set up to handle calls from fire-affected people. The centre is expected to be in place for up to 18 months. Corporate support for The Salvation Army continues to be strong, with three warehouses secured to receive and sort donated goods which can then be distributed to the fire-affected communities.
Colonel Raymond Finger, Chief Secretary, Australia Southern Territory,
Lt. Colonel Charles King, International Secretary for Communications.