Bushfire crisis: How you can help
Bushfire crisis: How you can help
But there are plenty of ways you can help services across the country in their efforts to put out the blazes, save wildlife, and help people who have lost their homes and livelihoods.
Help the firefighters
Donate to Australian comedian Celeste Barber’s fundraiser, which has thus far raised over $40 million. The funds will be distributed to fire services across all states to help the firefighters on the frontline.
Help the wildlife
With nearly half a billion animals already lost to the fires, wildlife rescue centres are also in desperate need of funds to help the survivors. WIRES Wildlife Rescue needs donations, with its limited resources already stretched. The charity has also issued instructions on how to make pouches for orphaned baby marsupials. Wildlife Victoria is distributing donations to wildlife shelters and carers all around the state.
More than 2000 koalas are feared to have died in the fires, and various charities are assisting injured koalas by providing care and medicine, as well as helping their survival by distributing drinking stations and seeking to protect their habitats. Adelaide Koala Rescue is helping South Australia’s koala population with recovery, while Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park is assisting with the many injured animals on the fire-ravaged island. Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is rehabilitating dozens of koalas and has deployed search teams to the NSW South Coast fire zone.
Help the residents
Australian Red Cross runs relief centres providing aid for those who have been evacuated from areas impacted by fires, as well as helping people get in touch with their loved ones.
Organisations including The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society and Foodbank are helping to provide food in bushfire-affected communities. Donations can also be made to various relief funds including the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, the Bendigo Bank Bushfire Disaster Appeal, and the Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund set up by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.
Find A Bed is helping displaced residents and pets have somewhere to sleep, with Australians volunteering their homes and properties for evacuees. You can also list your property with Airbnb Open Homes and offer your home as free accommodation for those evacuating fire zones.
You can donate funds to GIVIT which will help buy essential goods for those who have lost their belongings and homes, or you can give your own household items.
Donating blood or plasma through Australian Red Cross Lifeblood will help in the treatment of burns and other bushfire-related injuries.
Help the businesses
Australian athlete and humanitarian Turia Pitt has joined forces with marketing manager Grace McBride to launch an Instagram account calling for people to spend with bushfire-affected businesses. Spend With Them – which has gained over 50k followers in just 24 hours – is profiling a number of local businesses in towns that have been affected by the bushfires, in the hope that people all over the world will spend where their money is needed most once the bushfire crisis has passed. Of the Instagram account, Tulia said:
“Once these fires are finally ‘over’, it won’t be over for many of the local businesses in fire-ravaged towns. A lot of these places (like my home in Mollymook, and Mallacoota, Kangaroo Island, Eden, etc), rely on the tourist dollar for their very survival,” Pitt posted on Instagram.
“This is a way to put money directly in the pockets of the people and communities who need it the most, and need it NOW. Long after the threat is over and the choppers stop flying overhead. Long after summer ends and the wail of sirens ceases in the streets. Help them rebuild. Make them feel heard. Spend with them.”
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Akwa Surf is one of the first businesses to lend a helping hand in our community on the South Coast. When I was burned back in 2011 they immediately organised a surfing contest as a fundraiser to help me get back on my feet. They help the community in so many ways. This is typically the busiest time of year for Akwa, and right now Milton is a ghost town. If you need some new swimmers, or some surf gear, check them out @akwasurf and akwasurf.com.au and #spendwiththem