Australia is in the midst of a devastating and unprecedented bushfire season. This comes at a time when much of our country is in drought and a hot summer. Over 10 million hectares has been burnt, lives have been lost, communities, livestock and native animals destroyed. If you’ve been thinking about what you can do to help those affected by the Bushfires – here are some ways:
NSW & ACT Baptists Prayer Coordinator, Carolyn Altman has written a prayer for the Australian Bushfire Crisis – Prayer for Australian Bushfire Crisis_January 2020.
With thanks to Dr Byron Smith, Common Grace is offering this prayer for use or adaptation in your devotions and church worship – Prayer for Bushfires
Donating money is one of the best ways to help those affected by the fires. BUV is working closely with our local churches to help communities affected by the bushfires. To give to the BUV Bushfire Appeal click here.
If you want to donate physical items, please only give items that charities have specifically asked for (otherwise they need to sort through the items, diverting their attention away from fire relief). NewHope Baptist Church is partnering with Foodbank Victoria and they will be a collection point over the next few weeks. Click here for more information.
Red Cross has also urged people to consider donating blood. If you’re eligible, you can do so here.
Bible Society Australia is supporting churches, chaplains and other local partners working in affected areas by replacing Bibles and providing Scripture resources alongside emergency needs. Get in touch here.
Be Fire Ready
A well prepared home is more likely to survive a bushfire or ember attack. Baptcare has provided some tips on preparations to be Fire Ready. Read more.
Personal Hardship Assistance Program
The Victorian Department of Health & Human Services, supported by the Housing Call Centre, have established a Personal Hardship Assistance Program (PHAP) hotline 1800 961 054 for those affected by the Eastern Victoria bushfires.
Victoria Emergency Financial Assistance
If you or someone you know has been directly impacted by the East Gippsland Fires or the North East Fires, please visit the Vic Emergency financial assistance page.
Red Cross Emergency Grant
An emergency grant of $5,000 is available if you’ve lost your home in a bushfire. Apply here.
Mental Health and Well-being
It is normal for a distressing or frightening event to affect you physically, mentally and emotionally. Look out for others and if you need help, seek help.
You might find talking to friends and family useful, or talk with your pastor. It may be a good idea to see a counsellor or psychologist to help you process your experience. Here are a list of community services organisations within the BUV that can help you:
You can also contact:
- your doctor or local community health centre
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Parentline, Phone: 13 22 89
- Kids Helpline, Phone: 1800 55 1800
- NURSE-ON-CALL Phone: 1300 60 60 24 for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days)
- Australian Psychological Society Referral Service, Phone: 1800 333 497
Call 000 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.
Mainly Music has developed some useful resources to help children experiencing trauma. If your church would like these resources, please email Allison at firstname.lastname@example.org