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THE Salvation Army in Australia is playing a key role assisting members of the emergency services and helping victims as bushfires continue to cause devastation in the State of Victoria. At least 181 people are now known to have lost their lives in the disaster and well over 1,000 homes have been destroyed.
More than 250 Salvation Army volunteers are working around the clock in rotating shifts to provide whatever help they can. Officers and staff from Australia Southern Territorial Headquarters in Melbourne, along with training college officers and cadets, are part of the support teams. The Salvation Army is serving more than 2,000 meals per day to firefighters, police, emergency services, ambulance drivers and support service personnel.
The Salvation Army public appeal has raised Aus$5.5 million nationally. An initial amount of $825,000 has already been released for distribution to the 11 recovery centres in fire-affected areas.
Two Salvationists are known to have lost family members in the fires and one employee is now homeless. In addition to the loss of the Overdale Rural Rehabilitation Centre (reported previously), Camp Bambara at Kilmore – a youth camp operated by Westcare Child and Adolescent Services – has also been destroyed by the fires.
Colonel Raymond Finger (Chief Secretary, Australia Southern Territory), writing on behalf of Territorial Commander Commissioner James Knaggs, says: 'We are very grateful for the generous support of the Australian public and for the worldwide prayer focus on our nation at this time.'
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