A record number of fires have burned across Australia, and many of them are still uncontained and burning at emergency levels.
Since the bushfire season began in August, at least 24 people have tragically lost their lives, over 1,000 homes have been lost, five million hectares of our beautiful country have been burned and an estimated half a billion animals have perished in the flames. And there seems to be no end in sight to the horror.
If, like many Australians, you are wondering what you can do to help those affected, read on:
1. Donate money
The most obvious answer is donating, and if you’re in a financial position to do so, this is one of the most powerful ways you can help.
If you'd like to show support to the local fire brigades fighting bush fires around the clock, they are accepting donations via their websites, including New South Wales Fire Service, the SA Country Fire Service, Tasmania Fire Service, and the Western Australia Fire Service.
Any amount, big or small, will truly make a difference. So if you’re in a position to donate, please do so, even if it means sacrificing one of your morning coffees!
2. Help the wildlife
There's no doubt that you would have seen the heartbreaking images and videos of animals impacted by the bushfires, and if you’d like to help with their rescue, WIRES is a fantastic organisation to donate to. You can also call their Rescue Line on 1300 094 737 or report a rescue by filling out the WIRES online Rescue Form.
There are also many other organisations such as the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and RSPCA Australia, so it’s worth taking some time to research the organisations you'd most like to contribute towards.
As huge animal lovers, we at Nudie Glow will be donating 100% of our profits made this Friday to WIRES to help the vulnerable and defenceless wildlife.
Aside from donating, there are other ways you can help. Please see the following advice from WIRES on how you can assist wildlife during and after the fires.
3. Donate items
While financial donations are preferred, there are still organisations needing items such as clothing, furniture, household essentials and non-perishable food items in communities that have been worse affected.
GIVIT is a not-for-profit working to identify the exact needs of those affected. Visit this list online too see what items are needed by charities around Australia.
Foodbank is also currently accepting donations of non-perishable food and other essential grocery items at their warehouses around Australia. Head to the Foodbank website to find your nearest Foodbank warehouse to donate.
4. Donate your time
Right now, monetary donations are a priority, as other types of support may take a lot longer to process – including donating items or training individuals to become a volunteer.
WIRES is also looking for more volunteers, so if you're interested in working with animals, learn more about training and becoming a volunteer with WIRES here.
There are also ways to donate your time without needing any training. Find A Bed is an initiative that helps connect those displaced by the fires with members of the public who are willing to offer accomodation, or a temporary place to stay.
5. Share, share, share
Even if you can’t donate or contribute much, just the ripple effect of you spreading the word on your Facebook page could lead to other donations and significant amounts being raised. So keep sharing!
When these fires are eventually put out and we move into the cooler months, it is also important to discuss again what happened. We need to keep the conversation going to urge our country's political leaders to take urgent, immediate action and help protect Australians from the bushfire risk, as well as preventing any future fires from developing.
Stay strong and safe, Australia.