Unless you’ve made a valiant effort to ignore social media, you’ve probably seen a lot of content about the current bushfire crisis in Australia.
As an Australian living abroad, it breaks my heart to write something like this and to feel limited in what I can do to help.
That being said, let’s get straight to the point.
Here’s what you need to know…
- There are more than 200 fires currently burning across the country, many of which are uncontrolled.
- At least 25 people have been confirmed dead.
- Over half a billion animals have been affected, with millions expected to be dead.
- Over 12.3 million acres have been burned. That’s twice the size of Belgium, and bigger than the Amazon fires.
- There’s no sign of the fires slowing down with January and February bringing hotter and drier conditions.
- More than 1300 houses have been destroyed in NSW alone, and entire towns burned down.
13 ways you can help, whether you’re in Australia or not
Most of the firefighters working around the clock to battle the fires are volunteers, as well as all the people involved in the countless organizations offering assistance.
Every donation, no matter how small, helps those affected by the fires and the brave people fighting them.
Despite exceeding their initial goal of $25,000. The funds will be used to distribute drinking water stations in areas burned by wildfire, as well as to establish a wild koala breeding program. By some estimates, more than 8,000 koalas may have been killed by the fires.
The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) is the world’s largest volunteer fire service. Our members provide fire and emergency services to approximately 95 percent of NSW. NSW RFS members attend a range of incidents and activities.
CFA provides statewide fire and related emergency coordination to Victoria and is one of the world's largest volunteer-based service organizations.
The South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) serves communities through dedicated volunteers delivering professional fire and rescue services to outer metropolitan, regional and rural South Australia.
The SA CFS is an all-hazards agency responding to bushfire, building fire, road crash rescue, and hazardous material spills.
WIRES Wildlife Rescue is the largest wildlife rescue & rehabilitation charity in Australia. It is a non-profit organization providing rescue and rehabilitation for all native Australian fauna. All animal rescuers and carers are volunteers.
Wildlife Victoria has provided the community with a Wildlife Emergency Response service for 30 years.
They receive about 80,000 requests for help a year and help over 50,000 animals.
Fauna Rescue of South Australia Inc. is the largest rescue group in SA.
They continued to grow and now boasts a membership of over 400 Wildlife Volunteers. Their members are located all over SA including metropolitan and country areas.
WRQ is a not for profit organisation that Rescues, Rehabilitates and Releases Australian Native Wildlife. We are a permitted care group with DES (The Department of Environment and Science) and hold a Group Rehabilitation Permit which allows authorised members who have completed the necessary training to care for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife for the purposes of rehabilitating them and returning them back into the wild.
The Australian Red Cross provides a range of services and programs including international aid across the Asia-Pacific region, international humanitarian law advocacy, migration support, emergency management, blood donation via the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, and community services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, youth, families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
Their assistance is tailored to each individual and community need and is typically determined in consultation with government, emergency services, and local community leadership. Salvos are offering financial assistance, housing support, mental health support, and much more.
Share everything you can on social media
Share updates and images as much as you can on social media to spread awareness of the devastation across Australia. More awareness equals more potential assistance and much-needed donations.
Offer your home to those in need
If you’re in a fire-affected area, consider offering your home to those who need shelter and comfort. Thousands of people are now homeless and in need of somewhere to stay.
You can provide accommodation through the following services:
Leave out water and food for animals in need
Over half a billion animals have been affected by the fires. Distressed and forced out of their natural habitats, they’re in dire need of food and water.
Every little bit of support, whether physical or financial, provides unimaginable support to those in need, so please consider donating whatever you can.
To all the brave people volunteering to fight fires and provide assistance, thank you. You’re kindness and bravery know no bounds.
NOTE: This story is part of the Medium Partner Program and I’ll be donating every cent I happen to earn to one (or maybe more) of the organizations mentioned above.