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Corona virus an ‘existential storm’

At an urgent roundtable meeting last week with Social Services Minister Anne Ruston, organisations said they were at high risk of being unable to deliver relief services to millions of vulnerable people, ABC News reports.

They have called for immediate financial assistance, with one national food charity warning it could be forced to close its doors within the month if it does not receive support.

As volunteer numbers dry up, some have suggested the Australian Defence Force step in to help deliver essential supplies.

Foodbank Australia helps to feed about 815,000 people a month, but in recent weeks its supplies have been running dangerously low.

Chief executive Brianna Casey has seen a “perfect storm” of bushfires and the coronavirus threaten the future of her charity.

“We are seeing unprecedented demand for food relief and unfortunately this is happening at a time when our supplies are extremely low,” she said.

“The challenge we have right now is that the vulnerable communities across Australia have been vulnerable for some time.”

As governments ramp up their health advice and businesses cut back, more people are expected to rely on charities to get by.

Nationwide panic-buying has stripped the supply from organisations like Foodbank who rely on major supermarkets for their excess produce.

Heightened anxiety and bans on public gatherings have led to a “mass” drop in volunteers, further hindering their ability to respond.

Ms Casey said she had requested urgent assistance from the Defence Force to ensure her organisation could continue to operate effectively.

Ozharvest has been one of the organisations hardest-hit by the crisis after being forced to cancel vital fundraising events due to the ban on mass gatherings.

FULL STORY

Coronavirus, bushfires create ‘perfect storm’ for Australian charities (ABC News)

Charities big and small hit hard by coronavirus crisis (9 News)

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Joint Chiefs of Staff