Indian Restaurant Hands Out Free Meals To Hundreds Of Australians Affected By Bushfires
The owners of an Indian restaurant in Gippsland, in the Australian state of Victoria, have been providing thousands of free meals to people affected by the recent bushfires, which continue to ravage various parts of the country.
Kanwaljit Singh and his wife Kamaljit Kaur, who own the Desi Grill in Bairnsdale, said they felt a 'duty' to help their fellow locals, and have been cooking curry and rice to be handed out to people living in temporary shelters by Melbourne-based charity Sikh Volunteers Australia.
Singh told SBS Punjabi: "It's terrible out there. People are severely affected and they need food and shelter. It's our duty to serve them when they need us the most.
"We follow the Sikh way of life. We are just doing what other Australians are doing today, and that is to serve and pray for the people who have been hit hard by these terrible bushfires."
Singh, who has lived in the area for six years, and his team managed to help volunteers cook 500 meals on New Year's Eve.
He continued: "We have the capacity to cook for up to 1,000 people in a day.
"But it all depends on how much is needed in the field.
"We have stock of rice, flour and lentils which we think should be sufficient for the next week or so."
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According to the BBC, the recent fires have killed at least eight people in south-eastern Australia since Monday. Two people also remain missing.
The new deaths bring the number of fire-related fatalities in Australia this season to at least 18.
Australian military aircraft and navy ships are now being deployed to help emergency services in New South Wales and Victoria.
I've spoken with @ScottMorrisonMP & authorised #ADF to deploy extra assets to the Victorian fires: 3 helicopters & 1 aircraft will fly to East Sale; HMAS Choules & MV Sycamore will sail to East Gippsland. A Joint Task Force has been stood up with Army personnel & Liason Officers
- Linda Reynolds (@lindareynoldswa) December 31, 2019
The HMAS Choules, which The Daily Telegraph says specialises in responding to humanitarian crises, left Sydney and headed to Mallacoota, carrying fresh water, medical aid, food and temporary shelter.
At a media conference on Wednesday, Andrew Crisp - Victoria's emergency management commissioner - announced that authorities are now considering evacuation by sea.
He also said Black Hawk helicopters would be deployed to help crews help battle the fires.
Crisp said: "They give us additional capability.
"They're able to fly at night. Although not dropping water on fires at night, that will give us a great intelligence capability overnight."
Featured Image Credit: Desi Grill Bairnsdale