Australia

Sikh group giving free hot meals to bushfire victims hailed as 'legends'

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Members of Australia's Sikh community are helping out Victorians hit by bushfires.

Sikh volunteers who are providing free food for bushfire victims in Victoria have been hailed as "legends".

Members of the Melbourne-based Sikh Volunteers Australia have crisscrossed the fire-affected regions throughout the week, serving hundreds of people.

Premier Daniel Andrews tweeted "there's a saying that in a crisis, we should look for the helpers".

"These legends from Sikh Volunteers Australia drove up to Bairnsdale from Melbourne on Monday – and they've been serving free, hot meals ever since."

Many others have followed Mr Andrews' lead.

SBS News talked to members of the group as they were giving out free meals at an evacuation centre in Bairnsdale.

The group usually provides food twice a week for those in need around Melbourne.

But member Jafwinder Singh said this "disaster" was too big to ignore.

The group has been giving out free food for five days.
The group has been giving out free food for five days.
SBS News

"We decided to come here and serve the people as much as we can," he said.

"We have a database of more than 100 volunteers" and a number were "very willing to come down".

Mr Singh said "preparing the food and bringing it down here from the [Melbourne] base is impossible. It's a four-hour journey and we can't keep that food for that long".

So locals have helped out by providing kitchens for them to use.

Fellow volunteer Manpreet Singh said "we will stay here until the situation gets normal".

Two people are dead and 28 are missing as massive bushfires continue to tear through Victoria's east.

Almost 50 fires were raging in the state on Friday afternoon, predominantly in East Gippsland, the alpine region and the northeast.

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