Calls for people to donate cash, not food, to help Victorian bushfire victims

| 05.01,20. 04:29 PM |

Calls for people to donate cash, not food, to help Victorian bushfire victims

The Australia Flag flies under red skies from the fires on January 04, 2020 in Bruthen Australia, in East Gippsland. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images) (Getty)

The Victorian Premier has asked if people can stop donating clothes and food to those affected by the bushfires, rather donate cash to help those in need.
It comes as the number of those missing has dropped from seven, to four.
"I'm very pleased to be able to report that the number of people who're unaccounted for has reduced further to four people down from seven," Daniel Andrews said.
"So we have found another three people from around between midday and now.
"We hope those numbers continue to fall but again we do have fears for the safety of those four people who we cannot account for and of course, there's still many communities that we have not been able to get into, particularly those that came under significant fire attack yesterday and throughout the evening, particularly in the north-east of our state."
The premier, and Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said, while there has been a reprieve today, there is still some significant fire activity on the Martha veil fire north of Bairnsdale on the western edge.
"The fire's moved slightly towards the west but it highlights that it's still very dangerous out there," Mr Crisp said.
"So, the key message is very much about people knowing their local conditions, again, know how to access the good information to make good decisions, download the CFA emergency app, know who the broadcaster app is, use the social emergency channels."
In terms of donations, Mr Andrews said he is "very grateful" for the thousands of donations, but they are diverting resources away from those in need.
"I don't want to appear harsh in any way, but we don't need any more clothes, food, trucks on our roads, we don't have the warehouse capacity, the people or the time to sort through," Mr Andrews said.

"I know it all comes from a place of kindness and I thank everybody who's made those donations but we are getting to a point where we don't have the space or the people or the need.
"What we do need though and what those families need most and what the agencies have asked me to convey to the Victorian community - cash to the fund that I've just announced, the bushfire appeal fund with the support port of the Bendigo Bank and others is the best way to contribute to support those that are doing it tough.
"That way money can be given to the families and they can make decisions that are much more flexible and local if you like, rather than us having to set up warehouses and deal with many, many truckloads of clothes and food and other things."
So far 900,000 hectares of land has been burnt out in Victoria, about 700,000 in East Gippsland and 200,000 up in the north-east.
The mercury is forecast to peak in the early 20s in East Gippsland, with rainfall of about 20mm expected later in the day.
In the northeast, temperatures could hit the late 20s in some parts, with some rainfall - albeit it likely less than 5mm - expected.
However, Mr Crisp warned the milder weather and rain would not be the saviour Victoria was desperately hoping for.
"What we are seeing with our weather, yes, it is milder, more moderate, there has actually been some rain. In terms of people thinking that the rain is going to put the fires out, that's not the case," he said.
There are warnings the dangerous fire conditions could return as early as Thursday or Friday.
The communities of East Gippsland and north eastern Victoria could expect more emergency and evacuation warnings to come.
Meanwhile, in Mallacoota, ADF helicopters are continuing to fly in and out, evacuating those who had elected to leave.
A further 61 people had been evacuated from Mallacoota this morning, Mr Crisp said, adding that he was confident everyone who had made the decision to evacuate would be able to leave.
About 350 people had chosen to leave while a further 400 people had elected to remain at their properties in Mallacoota, he said.
The state's Police Minister, Lisa Neville, said she was still not sure of the detail about how the how the emergency response chain of command would differ following Prime Minister Scott Morrison's announcement yesterday that thousands of army reservists and extra resources of the ADF would now be deployed.
Mr Morrison was criticised earlier today by NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons who said he only found out about the unprecedented development via a news report.
Ms Neville said she also found out about the ADF deployment on the TV.
However, Ms Neville said she was confident the extra resources would help the state combat the fires and recover more quickly.
Ms Neville said she would be holding the Federal Government to account and making sure all the extra resources promised were delivered.


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