The Authorities are asking people not to just "turn up" to help - even though that is a generous response to a tragedy.
The Red Cross is running an Appeal.
I reprint their notice, in part, so you get the idea.
The website for donations is run by them, and I have nothing whatsoever to do with it, personally.
- Victorian bushfires 2009 - Appeal
- The 2009 Victorian bushfire Fund to assist individuals and communities affected by devastating bushfires in Victoria has been launched by the Premier John Brumby in partnership with Red Cross and the Federal Government. A number of corporate organisations including NAB, ANZ, CBA and Wesfarmers have also contributed to the fund.
- As at 3:30pm on the 9th February, the Fund had received $5.6 million from over 32,000 people through the website and phone, with governments including the Victorian Government and Federal Government and corporates pledging additional sums. Donations are still continuing to flow in.
- An independent panel made up of community leaders will oversee the appeal Fund's operation. Criteria for assistance will include the extent of the hardship covered and the extent to which a person's livelihood has been impacted.
- Donations can be made using our secure online donations form or by phoning 1800 811 700.
- They do want Blood Donations
- They do want offers of accommodation.
- They do not want more Volunteers - at present. If their need changes, or more likely their ability to handle offers of assistance increases, they will make a public announcement.
- They do not want "goods" donated. They are urging people to shop locally, to support local businesses.
Make your feelings known and provide support through through proper channels.
This is what the Federal and State Governments want you to do.
Its safer for you (dealing with certified agencies), and more efficient in the long run.
Obviously you care about your friends and relatives.
FOOTNOTE ON THE HISTORY OF DISASTERS IN AUSTRALIA
I am more than a little annoyed at the Media's fixation on the bushfire as the greatest tragedy to strike Australia. It isn't.
It makes for great MEDIA, but it is NOT GOOD HISTORY.
- For example, 12000 + people died in Australia, between 1918 and 1919 from the "Spanish Flu" epidemic. That was before TV and the Internet, and Radio was in its infancy. Not good for the Media. The ignorant children who run TV Stations have no idea!
- In the Heatwave that caused "Black Friday" 438 people died from heat-related medical problems - far more than were killed by the fires themselves. Why is that forgotten?
- Cyclone Mahina destroyed Bathurst Bay, Queensland, on 4 March 1889, killing 410 people. They were mostly Pearl Fishermen, and local Aboriginals who tried to rescue the shipwrecked fishermen, and were washed out to sea by the backwash of the Tidal Wave caused by the Cyclone. Dare I say it, these "demographics" are not top of the Media's list. And it was all a long time ago. But it did happen, and ought not be written out of history.
Cyclone Tracy is ranked much lower than this current Fire Storm (71 people died) - so I am not trying to diminish the story. I just want it kept in perspective.
"Ash Wednesday" was appropriately ambiguous.
"Black Friday" was suitably ambiguous and the name has stuck.
In a few months time, what will they call these fires?
Julia Gillard, Deputy PM, standing in for Mr Rudd (who was on the ground in Victoria) said in Parliament:
- "The seventh of February 2009 will now be remembered as one of the darkest days in Australia's peacetime history," she said.
- "A tragedy beyond belief, beyond precedent and really beyond words.".
Julia, I know words are cheap, but PLEASE, PLEASE, find out the truth.
This was a bad fire, but not nearly as large or intense as the 1939 fires.
The thing which has changed is that more people have been encouraged to live amongst the timbered country north-east of Melbourne. That is bad policy. A disaster waiting to happen. We need to tell that to John Brumby's proposed Royal Commission, for he seemingly cannot understand why it was so bad!
Even the High Country fires of December 2006 and January 2007 burnt out vastly more bush than these fires have (so far).
Politicians mouthing words drafted for them by inexperienced Political Assistants, because the words "sound good", is not the standard we should expect from our National Leaders..