A public commemoration will be held at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building this week to mark the 10th anniversary of the nation’s deadliest bushfires—Black Saturday, 7 February 2009.
The ceremony will be held on 4 February, with the rest of the week being set aside for memorial activities in the Victorian towns ravaged by the fires.
Tragically, 173 people died and more than 3,500 buildings were destroyed as a result of the Black Saturday bushfires. Many more people were injured, and many were psychologically scarred by the experience.
During the initial time of crisis, The Salvation Army was on site across the state providing more than 50,000 meals, offering counselling, and distributing material aid and immediate financial assistance. By the end of the first week the Salvos had distributed $2.5 million.
After the initial response to the fires ended, The Salvation Army remained active in fire-affected communities for several years, working with them through the difficult recovery process.