Here's how to show your support.
As we all know by now, Australia is currently experiencing one of the worst fire seasons in decades. A combination of high temperatures and months of drought influenced by climate change have led to devastating bushfires across the country. On Monday, an estimated 130 fires were burning, according to the BBC, and so far, 24 people have died and experts estimate that as many as one billion animals have been lost. Since September, almost 2,000 homes have been destroyed and 12.35 million acres have burned so far. As the fires continue and experts warn that several fires may merge together later this week, you may be wondering how you can show your support. Below are some organizations you might want to consider donating to in whatever way you can. From fire fighting services to koala rescue groups, here are some nonprofits and companies working to support the people and animals affected by the Australia fires.
Donations to the Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund go toward deploying emergency teams, evacuation centers, and Emergency Grants for those who have lost their houses in the fires. In addition to donating directly, the Red Cross also suggests hosting a garage sale or event (such as a give-back dinner party) to raise funds.
Known as fireys in Australia, firefighters across the country are working tirelessly to put out the blazes, and you can donate directly to these groups. Many of the brigades are volunteer, including the NSW Rural Fire Service, which has 74,000 volunteer members. Also consider donating to the South Australian Country Fire Service.
GIVIT helps connect donated items with people who need them. Requested items range from bedding to grocery vouchers, or you can donate money that will go towards the items on the wishlist.
You probably know Airbnb as a site to book your next vacation, but you may not know that the company helps provide disaster relief by connecting hosts who are willing to provide free housing to those in need. OpenHomes was first created after Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012, and since then, has been used many times. Currently, emergency housing is available in Victoria and New South Wales. If you have a house in the area, consider signing up as a host.
This GoFundMe campaign provides culturally sensitive emergency relief to First Nations people affected by the Australia fires in Victoria and New South Wales, including covering relocation costs and replacing basic necessities that have been lost.
This Australia wildlife rescue organization is working around the clock to rescue and care for animals who are sick or orphaned as a result of the fires. If you're in Australia, you can also join as a volunteer. In December alone, volunteers participated in over 3,300 rescues.
Because koalas are slow-moving, the quickly spreading bushfires have had a particularly devastating effect on the koala population. In New South Wales, an estimated 8,000 koalas have died as of last week. Adopting a koala through the World Wildlife Fund goes towards much-needed conservation efforts, while the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is involved in koala rescue.
Veterinarians from the RSPCA New South Wales are working to help pets and livestock affected by the fires, including those left behind during emergency evacuations.