Charity contact centres swamped after fires

Charity contact centres have been swamped by calls in the wake of the devastating Victorian bushfires.

By Wednesday, the Red Cross had taken about $28.2 million in donations, its contact centre was taking as many as five donations a second and had been bolstered with staff from the Commonwealth Bank. About 20,000 had called to give blood in the past three days, up from a usual 120 donations.

The Country Fire Authority (CFA), responsible for fighting most of the fires, said its contact centre is being overwhelmed. The CFA had advised residents to call its information line if they saw smoke, but given the high volume of calls, they are now asking people to consider how urgent their call is.

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