Catastrophic bushfires swept through the east coast of Australia this week. Conditions now aren’t quite so bad as they were on Tuesday, but the damage has already been done to people, homes and animals. If you’re sitting at home feeling hopeless or angry, there are a lot of ways you can help.
The easiest way to help is by donating money to one of the organisations or charities below. Most of Australia’s biggest charities have teams on the ground helping evacuees and emergency service responders in NSW and Queensland.
There are also a number of wildlife rescue organisations calling for donations, and you can even donate to the RFS directly. In most cases, donations over $2 are tax deductible.
NSW Rural Fire Service
Yesterday was a day of exceptional fire danger. Sadly, it appears based on early reports, at least 50 homes have been damaged or destroyed in yesterday’s fires. Despite the worst of conditions, there has been no loss of human life reported. Pic: Wolter Peeters #nswrfs #nswfires pic.twitter.com/Bijl8bag9g
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) November 12, 2019
The Berejiklian government cut $26.7 million in funding to the Rural Fire Service in the June 2019 budget, which left the organisation — our main line of defence against the bushfires — scrambling to contain the catastrophic fire conditions. Luckily, the RFS accepts donations, so even though we shouldn’t have to be fixing our government’s mistakes, we can.
You can use your credit card to make a donation to the RFS or your local brigade here.
You can also make a donation via bank transfer or a check or money order. All the details you’ll need to donate can be found here.
The Australian Red Cross
“Those children just raced to each other and cuddled. They were so overcome that they had escaped as well.”
— Australian Red Cross (@RedCrossAU) November 9, 2019
Red Cross personnel, mostly volunteers, are “providing psychological first aid, working at evacuation centres and helping people to get in touch with their loved ones” across NSW, Queensland and South Australia.
You can donate to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund here or by calling 1800 733 276.
You can also donate in person at any of the following branches and stores: Commonwealth Bank, Australia Post, NAB and Kathmandu. The CommBank app also lets users donate.
Funds will be used to train, equip and transport Red Cross teams, and to “maintain stocks of critical disaster response equipment including water filtration, shelter, hygiene and cooking kits for use in emergencies.”
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has launched an Emergency and Disaster Appeal to support those affected by the devastating and unprecedented #bushfires in NSW and QLD. Please, those affected need your support. You can donate to our Appeal here: https://t.co/iXJRDdYLMm #qldfires #nswfires pic.twitter.com/nPD6UnyBB0
— Salvos Australia (@salvos) November 9, 2019
The Salvation Army has deployed relief teams to twelve evacuation centres in NSW and Queensland. By donating to the organisation’s Disaster Appeal here, you’ll help these teams provide food and water, as well as emotional and practical support, to evacuees and emergency service responders.
You can also call 13 72 58 or donate at any Woolworths checkout.
St Vincent de Paul Society
Vinnies is here, now and in the long term to help people rebuild their lives.
Please stay safe in the #NSWfires, and if you are among the lucky ones who are unaffected, please make a donation to our #BushfireAppeal at https://t.co/Xs4bZFCqmq or on 13 18 12. pic.twitter.com/KtbyaxLsOs
— Vinnies (@VinniesNSW) November 13, 2019
Vinnies is running an online Bushfire Appeal to help families who were evacuated, or who lost their home, recover from the fires.
Just $50 can provide food for a family who were evacuated from their home, and donations between $150 and $300 can help families with bills, clothing and any unexpected expenses. A $1100 donation can help displaced people set up again with bedding, furniture and appliances.
Wildlife rescue organisations
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More than 350 koalas have been killed in bushfires that tore through their native habitat, and more are still fighting injuries.
The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is conducting search and rescue operations in affected areas and bringing any surviving koalas back for assessment and treatment. The hospital is running a GoFundMe to raise money to distribute automatic drinking stations to stop more koalas dying from dehydration.
Other wildlife rescue groups are accepting donations too. Koalas in Care, a non-profit in Taree, NSW, is using Facebook to call out for urgent veterinary equipment, and accepting direct donations online.
Check out this guide for other ways to help animals during bushfire season.
Alana is the staff writer on AWOL who thinks the best way to travel is by taking spontaneous detours and stopping at every local bakery to try the cakes. She writes a lot about Australian TV, Big Things, cursed food, and theme parks. You can follow her on Instagram @alana.dotcom. It’s mostly dogs she meets along the way.