After one of our busiest years in memory, we’re back refreshed and ready to continue the work we’ve done for over a century.
During our centenary year we experienced a significant increase in both our number of members and our regular monthly supporters, who we depend on so much to fund our vital everyday work across Australia and further afield. We grew support in our online communities too, almost doubling the number of Facebook followers last year from 60,000 to over 113,000 people. (If you’re not yet amongst our followers, join in the community over at our Facebook page.)
After a challenging start to the year responding to bushfires in the Adelaide Hills, regional Victoria and Western Australia, our dedicated volunteers registered the whereabouts of families and loved ones so they could be reconnected, and provided emotional and practical support at evacuation centres. We also marked some key disaster anniversaries, including the 10-year anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunami, and 40 years since Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin (which we look back on in this issue).
Emergencies can be particularly hard to understand for children, and some young ones may be struggling to process the destruction caused by bushfires over the summer holidays. As children across Australia begin a new school year, we have lesson plans and other resources available on our website to help students prepare, respond and recover in times of emergency.
The world’s worst Ebola outbreak continues to claim lives in West Africa. Red Cross is still there helping people protect themselves from the virus, providing lifesaving care at treatment centres, and burying victims with dignity. We continue to call on the Australian community to donate to the Ebola Outbreak Appeal. Our aid workers, like Tracy Zordan (featured in this issue) are helping to control the spread of the disease.
Good luck to supporters who are hitting the streets this March for our annual Red Cross Calling fundraising drive. As 2015 continues, there will be many more opportunities to get involved with Red Cross and help us to make a difference.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Michael Legge (President) and Robert Tickner (CEO)