Australia Bushfire Crisis: Online Donations & How You Can Help
Right at this very moment, the fires across the ditch continue to spread, and have been burning since September 2019. In Australia, more people are losing their homes, entire species of animals are being pushed to extinction, nearby cities in Australia are being enveloped by smoke, and more lives are being put at risk.
It’s in these moments of crisis where people come together, not just physically but also virtually, to help those who have been affected and those who continue to fight the blaze. There is no better time to stay connected than now when those experiencing disaster need us most. In fact, so many notable contributions have already been made by people around the world with the help of modern technology and social media.
Learn more about the Australian bushfire crisis below, and how you can help, no matter where you are.
Statistics & Casualties
As of writing, here is a list of crucial information regarding the Australian bushfires:
8.4 million hectares (21 million acres; 84,000 square kilometres; 32,000 square miles) have burned
5,900 buildings (including over 1,900 houses) destroyed
25 people killed (including three volunteer firefighters)
480 million animals died, including a third of the entire koala population
The primary cause of the bushfires and their devastating impact is currently being debated. The possible list of causes includes: a lack of prescribed burning, the severe eastern Australian drought, climate change, and even alleged arson. Many experts believe it to be a combination of all these factors, exacerbated by the current Australian governments funding cuts to firefighting services.
While the why is yet to be precisely determined, emergency response is the main priority. Hundreds of firefighters from all over Australia are currently fighting the blaze, with more from emergency services helping provide aid on the ground. The United States, Canada and New Zealand have sent a number of firefighters and supporters to help as well.
Virtual Help: Notable Internet Fundraisers
In these devastating moments, people ask, “What can we do to help?”
Luckily, the internet and the rise of social media have made donating money to crises like this one fast, easy, and accessible. It is comforting to see that people all over the world are taking action in any way they can, including donating to fundraisers, or directly to organisations, with some notable efforts raising millions of dollars online.
Here are some of the most noteworthy ones that are closer to home:
Celeste Barber, Australian writer and comedian, has raised over $48 million (at the time of writing) for the Trustee for New South Wales Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donations Fund through a Facebook fundraiser page. People from all over the world have donated through the social media platform, and it’s now the biggest fundraiser in Facebook’s history.
Donations are still open.
New Zealand choreographer and dancer Parris Goebel made an Instagram post about the Australian bushfires, urging her 1.2 million followers particularly within the dance community to reshare the post and promote awareness, promising to donate $20 for every reshare. She has since donated to Red Cross Australia and the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Give a Little
A number of Givealittle pages have been created to help provide assistance and relief for those affected by the Australian bushfires, and Kiwis are donating generously. There are pages for wildlife rescue and treatment, volunteer firefighters, and many others.
More than $31,000 has been donated to these pages.
Sydney Morning Herald reports that over 45 local and international merchants pledged to donate all profits from their sales on Thursday, 9th of January, to Red Cross Australia’s disaster relief and recovery plan.
“Participating brands include Afterpay, The Iconic, Stussy, Lacoste, eBay, Lee Jeans, Temple and Webster, Wrangler, Ugg and General Pants, along with a host of other retailers. The entire cohort has a collective network of more than 1000 stores.” Source: Sydney Morning Herald
General Pants is spearheading the initiative. Sacha Laing, chief executive of the company, said “the response from retails had been massive, with the list growing from 15 to nearly 50 participants in less than 24 hours.”
The internet is a powerful tool for connecting with the rest of the world, especially those who need our help. It is precisely in times like this when we can make the most of our current technologies to assist those who are far from us.
If you haven’t yet, please donate using any one of the donation pages we’ve linked above, and stay updated. This is a global crisis, and it is our moral responsibility to take care of the planet and those who we inhabit it with.
Rachel is a Filipino Kiwi with a passion for the arts. Having graduated with an Arts Degree in English from UoA, she found writing work at PureSEO as a Junior Copywriter and quickly moved on to the role of Editor. In her spare time, she reads Austen and teaches dance classes in the weekend.