As thousands evacuate their homes in southeastern Australia and disturbing images of the raging bushfires do the rounds of social media, the owners of an Indian restaurant in the region are being praised for offering free food to people.
The owners of an Indian restaurant in Bairnsdale offered free food to firefighters and victims of the bushfires in the East Gippsland area. Kanwaljit Singh and his wife Kamaljit Kaur, who own the Desi Grill restaurant, and their staff cooked curry and rice which was given to those living in temporary shelters. They were assisted by a team from Melbourne-based charity, Sikh Volunteers Australia.
“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,” Kanwaljit told media outlet SBS Punjabi.
“Last night had been very busy. We helped the volunteers with cooking rice, curries and pasta and the food was distributed in at least 500 takeaway containers,” he said.
The owners have lived in the area for six years now and said that they felt like they had a “duty” to help their fellow Australians affected by the fires.
“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,” the restaurant owner said.
The restaurant says it can cook for up to 1000 people a day, and has been stocking up on rice, flour and lentils, which they think should last till the next week or so.
However, it depends on the number of people who turn up for food, with long queues being seen on New Year’s Eve.
The volunteers from Sikh Volunteers Australia have been taking food trucks to various parts of Victoria and providing food in camps. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews visited volunteers to appreciate their help.
This is the second such report of Sikh volunteers assisting those affected by bushfires. Earlier, volunteers from a gurudwara served free food to firefighters.
At least 17 people are missing after fires tore through Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) this week. The latest evacuations on the NSW south coast have been called “the largest relocation out of the region ever”, said a BBC report.
A CNN report said that evacuation was tougher in towns where roads have been closed and communities have been cut off due to the fires. In Victoria, there are 24 such isolated communities, including the beach town of Mallacoota, where thousands of residents fled their homes to seek refuge at the seaside on Monday.
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