S'pore Red Cross pledges $100,000 for victims of Australia bush fires and Jakarta floods, appeals for donations

A photo taken on Jan 4, 2020 shows a message asking for donations for the Australian Red Cross bush fires relief during the ATP Cup men's singles match between Dominic Thiem and Borna Coric in Sydney. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Singapore Red Cross Society has pledged $100,000 to support rescue and recovery missions in Australia and Indonesia, both hit by freak weather conditions in recent weeks.

The charity said on Monday (Jan 6) that it will be giving $50,000 in humanitarian aid to the Australian Red Cross to help communities affected by bush fires, as well as $50,000 to the Indonesian Red Cross to support the purchase of items such as sleeping bags and blankets for the victims of the Jakarta floods.

It has also started a public donation drive for the Australian bush fires.

Although a similar appeal is not currently in place for the Jakarta floods, donations are still welcome, the charity added.

More than eight million hectares of land and about 2,000 homes have been destroyed in Australia in the current fire season.

As of 4pm on Monday, Australian police have also confirmed the deaths of 25 people in the blazes, which are expected to continue burning for months to come.

Mr Benjamin William, secretary-general and chief executive officer of the Singapore Red Cross, said the full devastation of the fire has not yet been felt.

"The crisis is expected to escalate in view of the strong winds and persistent drought... We continue to be in communication with our counterparts in the Australian Red Cross to ascertain needs and consider further support where needed," he said.

The $50,000 aid for Indonesia will primarily go towards the purchase of family kits, hygiene kits, diapers, sleeping bags, blankets and clean water for the evacuees, the Singapore Red Cross said.

Thousands of people in Jakarta and surrounding areas have been hit by severe flooding and landslides after the heaviest downpour in a single day in 24 years. The rain that started on New Year's Eve has left at least 26 people killed and 30,000 homeless.

"It's been a challenging time for our neighbours since New Year's Eve. They have endured monsoon downpours, mudslides and power outages. Our sister national society, Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI - Indonesian Red Cross), is working round-the-clock to distribute food packs and provide health services, in addition to supporting the authorities to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases," said Mr William.

Those who wish to donate to these causes can make their cheques payable to Singapore Red Cross Society at its address - Red Cross House, 15 Penang Lane Singapore 238486 - and indicate "Australian Bushfire Emergency" or "Jakarta Floods Response" on the back of the cheques.

Cash donations can also be made at the above address during its office hours of 9am to 6pm on Mondays to Fridays.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.