Salvos provide assistance during Perth Hills bushfire crisis
3 February 2021
The Western Australia bushfire emergency is continuing to threaten homes, businesses and livestock in the hills east of Perth, and has destroyed over 70 properties so far. Our thoughts are with all those who have lost their homes, are waiting anxiously in evacuation centres, and those living in outer suburbs that are coming increasingly under threat.
The Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) and Disaster Management teams are available, and on the ground, providing care and support to those in need.
Our SAES teams have been providing meals and refreshments to fire fighters and emergency personnel as they continue to battle the blaze and protect properties, preparing over 900 meals for dinner alone on Tuesday evening.
Salvation Army officers are present at the evacuation centre in Swan View, providing support and pastoral care to those who have been displaced by the fires. With over 400 people present at the centre, our care for those affected comes with the added consideration of health and safety concerns in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent lockdown measures implemented by the Western Australian government. We acknowledge the additional stress this can cause to those affected by this disaster.
Salvos have also provided toys, colouring books and games for kids who have evacuated, with Salvo officer, Peter Brookshaw of Morley Corps engaging kids in soccer activities as a welcome distraction.
“We just went around and handed out bottles of water and had conversations with families across the evacuation centre,” says Peter. “Many of them had only had one hour’s sleep or so, had been told to evacuate their homes at two in the morning and so there were many families just really tired and anxious.”
Peter says COVID even had an impact on what games to play with the kids.
“We were going to play cricket, but we didn’t because we would all be holding the ball so that’s why we went with soccer. People are trying to keep their distance with their masks on. There are restrictions in place in not wanting the general public to pop down to the evacuation centres to limit the people there. There is a lot of complexity, there is COVID overlayed with bushfires. It’s a complex situation.”
The Salvation Army Strategic Emergency and Disaster Management team will continue to work with the Department of Communities who are leading the response to determine over coming days what further support is required.
For all those who are feeling overwhelmed and scared due to the unfolding bushfire emergency in Perth, The Salvation Army is here for you. If you see a Salvo and need someone to talk to, don’t be afraid to ask how we can help – that’s what we’re here for!