If you’re like me, your heart has been breaking over the wave of images coming from fire stricken Australia: the burning homes, the loss of life, the destruction of habitat affecting millions of animals, and finally, the disturbing peril of the animals themselves. While the death toll for humans is 25 at this time, estimates place the loss of animal life at over half a million victims. As reported on PBS, thousands of Australians are in need of assistance as massive wildfires continue to tear across the continent. The blazes are estimated to have burned an area double the size of the state of Maryland, and show no signs of slowing down.
Fortunately, there are several ways that you can help.
- Donate to the firefighters directly: at the Country Fire Authority (CFA) in Victoria or the NSW Rural Fire Service in New South Wales. You can also give to local fire fighting brigades through the NSW Rural Fire Service’s link.
- Donate to the Australian Red Cross
- Donate to St. Vincent de Paul
- Donate to Save the Children. They are providing shelters and offering counseling to children who have been affected by the fires.
- If you live in Australia, and have the room, you can take in people who have lost their homes. Get connected to a person who could use it through Find A Bed. Describe the accommodations you could provide in a Google form checklist, such as how many people you could house and for how long.
- Donate household items. Through the Australian nonprofit GIVIT, you can scroll through a list of specific items needed by charities. The ones highlighted in orange are for recipients affected by the bushfires. Requests include clothing vouchers, chicken coops and refrigerators. To “give” an item, simply submit a photo of the object and fill out your personal contact information on a form like this one. You can also donate money to GIVIT.
- Help the Koalas, Kangaroos, and other animals. Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is still taking donations, 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. Or you can donate to Wires, a wildlife rescue organization that provides aid, shelter or relocation to any needy animal.
Photo credit: Wikipedia.org