The world continues to witness the devastating effects of the Australian bushfire over the past few days. An estimated 5 million hectares were ravaged by fire in Australia since 1 July compared to the California fires in 2018 which saw 1.8 million hectares burn, while the Amazon fires burned 900,000 hectares.
Ultimately, lives have been lost, homes and business have been destroyed and thousands of people are stranded or in limbo, as fires burn in parts of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.
Yet, there’s HOPE…
Many people around the world have come together to support relief work in Australia and in any way possible. If you are still in the dark on how you can help, then read on.
The needs of first responders and victims are great and varied and it’s the services and charities on the frontline that are best placed to know what is needed and where. Which is why monetary donations can be deemed useful but, as Victorian Emergency Services Minister, Lisa Neville warns, “Be aware of fake charities out there”.
For those requesting information about how best to provide assistance to affected communities, you may consider referring to the following organisations:
What items are needed urgently?
A family who has lost everything twice, a firefighter’s property and a heavily pregnant young mum are some of those asking for help through social media. With many homes in regional areas, items like fencing and pumps are on the wish list, but grocery vouchers, a children’s trampoline and even a family-sized tent are all needed by fire victims in northern New South Wales and Queensland.
You can find the full list here.
Supporting animal rescue
Although cash donations are welcomed, emergency relief and support services are paramount. WIRES or the NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc., Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organisation reports Sydney, Australia’s largest city, is having its worst fire season in 20 years. Below is a list of organisations you can reach out to for animal rescue and assistance efforts:
Celebrities come together, drawing attention to climate change
Hollywood stars are using their social influence for a good cause to call on greater support and assistance during this difficult period in Australia. Russell Crowe did not attend the Golden Globes in Los Angeles on Sunday after fires damaged his property in Coffs Harbour, about 300 miles from Sydney. In his winner’s speech for the best actor award, he cited the tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change-based.
At the Golden Globes too, Cate Blanchett thanked volunteer firefighters. “When one country is facing a climate disaster, we are all facing a climate disaster,” she said. Meanwhile, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who won the best actress award for the show “Fleabag,” vowed to auction off her couture suit, created by Australian designer Ralph & Russo, and donate the money raised to fire relief.
Other celebrities posted pleas for help on social media. Nicole Kidman and her husband, Keith Urban, donated $500,000 to volunteer firefighters and urged Instagram followers to help. Margot Robbie also posted on Instagram, asking fans to donate money online. Chris Hemsworth donated AUD$1 Million and asked fans to “dig deep” to support firefighting services and wildlife shelters.
Further information on conditions in Australia can be found on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation website (www.abc.net.au) which includes links to state fire and emergency service websites.