As Australia continues to burn, giving money remains the best way to help. These 10 charities are tirelessly helping emergency services, volunteers, evacuees and wildlife on the ground
Whilst bushfires are expected annually, record-breaking temperatures and extended droughts have meant that these have been the most intense, most wide-spread and longest raging ever seen. There have been reports of 70m-high flames, and at least 24 people have lost their lives. In New South Wales, the worst hit state, some 136 blazes have affected five million hectares of land, destroying 1,300 houses, killing millions of animals and wiping out the habitats of an unthinkable number of indigenous creatures. Nearby Victoria, and other states, are, meanwhile, tackling dozens of their own bushfires.
Watching the horrifying scenes of devastation unfold, it is easy to feel powerless. There are, however, some excellent charities providing relief to which you can donate, and indeed, the fire service issued a statement on its website saying that the best way to help is, indeed, to send money, rather than physical items; this enables people to buy the things they need and to support local businesses that have been affected. Here we list some of the best places in which to channel anything you can spare.
NSW Rural Fire Service
Starting with the brave souls at the coalface, this is the place to donate to the local fire services tackling the bushfires.
Victorian Bushfire Appeal
Whilst NSW is the worst-hit state, Victoria is also battling multiple blazes. Via this site, you can give money to support the fire fighters on the ground.
The Salvation Army is using its donations to provide meals to volunteers and evacuees.
Red Cross Australia
The Red Cross is responsible for relief and evacuation centres across all fire-hit areas.
Find a Bed
In the midst of the crisis, this charity has been set up to help find displaced people and animals a place to sleep.
While the land burns, so does its wildlife. WWF Australia is raising emergency funds for injured wildlife, and will focus efforts on restoring habitats after the fires finally cease.
Celeste Barber fundraiser
The comedian initially set up a Facebook fundraiser for NSW Rural Fire Services and Brigades Donations Fund. Since launching it on 3 January, she has raised some $39m, a growing sum that will now be distributed across all states affected.
This charity’s emergency fund is helping with the rescue of the millions of native animals that are injured or have lost their homes.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
More than 2,000 koalas have died since September in NSW alone. The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is distributing automatic drinking stations in burnt areas to help in koala and wildlife survival.
The St Vincent De Paul Society’s bushfire appeal aims to help those displaced by the fires rebuild their lives, by providing food, furniture and clothing, and by covering bills.
By Nancy Alsop