Australia's bushfire crisis: here's how you can help

 


Source: ABC - Triple J

If you're watching the bushfire crisis unfold with a sense of horror, we totally get it. It's easy to feel helpless in these circumstances, particularly if you're lucky enough not to be directly affected by the devastating blazes.

But there are things you can do to make a difference.

We've rounded up a few options on how you can help.

If you want to give cash

We know - it seems impersonal to just open your wallet at times like this. But the fact is that money is what most charities need right now.

If you want to help firies directly, you can donate to your local Rural Fire Service by contacting your local brigade directly or find out more here.

You can also donate directly to the families of the two volunteer firefighters who were killed during the Green Wattle Creek fire in NSW late last year. Geoffrey Keaton and Andrew O'Dwyer both leave behind young children. You can find more information here.

There are currently around 50 active fires in Victoria, too. So if you'd like to donate to the Country Fire Authority or support the Gippsland community as it struggles with a devastating blaze, you can do so here.

In South Australia, the Country Fire Service accepts donations through the CFS Foundation. You can donate to them here. The South Australian Government is also coordinating funding for victims of the Cudlee Creek fire through its State Emergency Relief Fund. Donations are welcome.

Bendigo Bank has paired up with the Salvation Army to collect funds for all the communities hit by fires so far.

Red Cross, the charity that's running a registration page to help locate people who are missing due to the natural disaster, are also accepting donations. You can help them out here.

If you want to donate goods

Please only donate goods if charities have specifically requested items. Charities are struggling to sort through donated goods, which has diverted their resources away from the fire effort.

That said, there is a need for some physical items. Givit is asking for things like fuel and grocery vouchers, fencing and water tanks. You can find out more here.

St Vincent de Paul Society shop fronts (AKA Vinnies) in fire affected areas may also be looking for specific items. You can find out where they are here.

Gippsland Farmer Relief, an organisation that's been working hard through the drought, has also been collecting non-perishable goods and toiletries for bushfire-affected residents.

Foodbank Victoria have been collecting non-perishable items as well as pet food and goods, though they've reached capacity for a lot of things so it's best to check directly with them about what they need. They take cash donations, too. You can find out more here.

If you want to donate a service

If donating cash or items isn't possible for you, then consider donating blood. The Red Cross's blood donation service, Lifeblood, says they're going to need more donations - especially as the bushfire crisis worsens. You can find out where to give blood, and if you're eligible to donate, here.

One of the most beautiful things to see during these kinds of crises is how people step up to help, even if they don't have much to offer.

A number of local Facebook groups have sprung up in the wake of the bushfire crisis to help connect people who can do things like drive people to safe locations, or transport animals.

Canberra locals are offering accommodation and meals for South Coast residents fleeing the fires, and the Boolarra Community Hotel is waiving fees for people fleeing the Gippsland region. The Loco Hotel near Junee is doing the same thing for people who've been forced to leave the alpine region due to fire risk.

At a national level, Airbnb has compiled a list of emergency housing options through its site, and Findabed is connecting people who can help with people who desperately need it.

You can also sign your name to a petition calling for firefighters to have better protective gear. The change.org petition was started by the Firefighter Cancer Coalition.

What about the animals?

There are a number of charities looking out for the welfare of animals who've been caught up in the blazes.

cute dog

Sara and Glenn Gardner fled Mogo and have been living in a car with their 13 dogs, including this little guy.

Tim Swanston, ABC

The RSPCA has an appeal going, and so does WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service).

Animals Australia and the WWF are also collecting funding to help wildlife affected by the fires.

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is asking for help in providing watering stations for thirsty koalas on their GoFundMe page, and Koalas in Care in NSW need a helping hand, too.

One of the hardest things for people fleeing bushfires is finding emergency accommodation for their pets and their livestock. The Rescue Collective are rounding up items for animals in need as well as hooking up bushfire survivors with people who can provide emergency care and accommodation for their pets. If you're good with crafts, the Animal Rescue Craft Guild is after knitted pouches for rescued animals. You can find out more via their Facebook page.

There are a few spots around bushfire zones that are offering safe spaces for animals, too.

Wangaratta Showgrounds and Wangaratta Turf Club are lending a helping hand to Victorian bushfire survivors, while Queanbeyan, Braidwood, Yass, Hall and Bungendore Showgrounds are open for those fleeing the South Coast fires. You can call the NSW Department of Primary Industries on 1800 814 647 for more info.

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