Mon, February 09, 2009
World > Asia-Pacific > Deadly wildfires in Australia

Thousands seek help at bushfire relief centers in Australia

2009-02-08 07:21:35 GMT2009-02-08 15:21:35 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

CANBERRA, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of people fleeing Victoria's bushfires have sought help at various relief centers in the state in Australia since Saturday morning.

With more than 60 people confirmed dead so far by police and large parts of Victoria still under threat, early-response charities, including the Australian Red Cross and the Salvation Army, have been busy with helping those who need urgent help.

The Red Cross said that 20 relief centers were operating and 500 volunteers have distributed 20,000 meals to those seeking help.

"We are now hearing stories of people escaping fires only to watch their homes go up in flames in literally minutes," said the Red Cross' Adam Dent.

"We know that people need our help now, and they will continue to need it for some time yet," Australian Associated Press quoted him as saying.

Another charity organization the Salvation Army also helped large numbers of people who were fleeing the fires.

"It would be in the thousands, quite literally and that will continue. In terms of firefighters themselves, it would be many, many hundreds of people," Major Brad Halse told reporters.

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