The SSIO of Australia & PNG is responding to the devastation created by the current bushfire emergency by encouraging its members to assist the affected individuals, communities and wildlife in a number of ways and expects this assistance will continue for some time.
Groups/Regions of the SSIO have already started providing assistance within their capacities to alleviate the distress created by the monumental nation-wide emergency. A national coordinated response is being activated in a two-phase approach. Dealing with the crisis as it unfolds and following this phase assisting with recovery.
The crisis phase is being dealt with by;
- Prayers for rain to extinguish the fires and break the long-standing drought experienced by large areas of the country. Prayers are also being directed towards the welfare and courage of those adversely affected by the fires and the marvellous volunteers who selflessly fight the fires. Several regions and groups have organised special prayer sessions in this regard.
- Collection and distribution of material support for those people in need through the fires. These requirements are being assessed, collected and distributed in consultation with local authorities based on needs. Members are encouraged to ascertain how you can assist by referring to your local group or region presidents or the Bushfire Service Coordinators; Vignesh Shanmugan, 0404905342, or Sudhesh Suknundan, 0408744169.
- Authorities are recommending at this stage that cash donations are the most useful means of support. They have been swamped with donations of food, clothing and other materials to the point they are becoming a hinderance in their efforts to support those affected. The SSIO has established a fund for receipt of donations by members if they so wish to donate. The information for making these donations is available through the Presidents of individual groups and regions.
- Members are encouraged to support local community initiatives and participate where possible, such as supporting local Evacuation Centres, provision of shelter to evacuees and supporting the various wildlife rescue services.
All supporting activities are ongoing until the end of this Summer. Members are asked to keep on working with your Region Presidents and Bushfire Service Coordinators. Always ask how you can be of support in these critical times.
More information will be provided as appropriate, especially in dealing with the recovery phase.