As bushfires continue to ravage parts of Australia, many Canadians are wondering what they can do to help.
The catastrophic blaze, which has spread across three states, has claimed 24 lives and 2,000 properties. It is estimated that close to half a billion birds, reptiles and mammals have perished as a result of the fires.
While a total of 87 firefighters from across Canada have been deployed to help battle the hundreds of blazes that are spreading throughout the country, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre Centre says it is not accepting volunteers to help with Australian fires. (Note: The tweet embedded below was updated after it was sent to confirm that 87 firefighters were sent.)
A 4th deployment of Cdn fire management personnel left last night to help fight #AustralianFires with the @NSWRFS. The specialists from BC, AB, SK, MB & ON received a briefing prior to departure and will join their colleagues, bringing the total # of Cdns to 86. pic.twitter.com/8Yi2pL9tZj— CIFFC (@CIFFC) January 5, 2020
So how can Canadians help?
There are many organizations and charities that are accepting donations - monetary and otherwise - to help with the rescue efforts of those on the ground, as well as those in need.
Donations for volunteers and first responders:
Australian firefighting services like Country Fire Service in South Australia, Victoria's Country Fire Authority, New South Wales Rural Fire Service, Queensland’s Rural Fire Brigades Association all have websites that accept donations to support their services.
The New South Wales government has also created a site to accept donations for families of volunteer firefighters who’ve been killed.
Donations for evacuees and those misplaced by the fires:
The Victorian Bushfire Appeal is raising donations for communities in need. Australian Red Cross is also accepting donations to help support thousands of people in evacuation centres and recovery hubs across Australia.
If you’re looking to make a more particular donation, Givit allows donors to give specific items needed for families and individuals like fuel, grocery and clothing vouchers, along with monetary donations. Foodbank, Australia’s most prominent charities focused on hunger relief, is accepting donations to provide items in affected areas like bottled water, batteries, toilet paper and food that doesn’t require refrigeration and cooking. Grippsland Farmer Relief Inc., which provides welfare to farming families, is accepting monetary donations as well as food, toiletries, grey water and environmentally safe cleaning products.
With destroyed properties such a widespread concern, several organizations have emerged to help those who are displaced or have lost their homes. If you have property near the affected areas, AirBnB is allowing you to list it as emergency housing for those who are displaced. Find A Bed, which was launched by Australian writer Erin Riley, allows those living in NSW, Victoria and South Australia to provide a place to sleep or help find one for those who have been displaced. St. Vincent de Paul Society is accepting donations to rebuild homes lost in the fire.
There is also a GoFundMe page for First Nations communities that have been displaced by the fires.
Donations for wildlife:
The Rescue Collective, which works with all facets of animal rescue, is accepting donations and specific goods to help injured wildlife.
RSPCA Bushfire Appeal helps inspectors gather and protect animals and livestock in areas affected by fire.
Koalas in Care is a non-profit that helps provide treatment and medication to injured and sick koalas.
The World Wildlife Fund is accepting funds to help injured animals and replant trees for their habitat.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is also looking for funding to help thousands of marsupials displaced and injured by the fires.
The Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild is accepting “bat wraps, joey pouches of all sizes, and hanging joey pouches” to help offer some snuggly comfort to marsupials injured by the fires.
The Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, which has been devastated by the fires, provides treatment and care for injured animals.
Zoos Victoria have started a Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund, which will help with emergency vet assistance and "scientific intervention."
The University of Sydney has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise funds for koala drinking stations.
Wires, a wildlife rescue organization, is accepting donations to provide a number of services to help at-risk animals.
There are a number of online campaigns that have launched to help raise funds for Australians and relief workers.
#FightFireWithaFiver is a Twitter hashtag launched by Australian actor Joel Edgerton and American comic Nick Kroll, with the intention of raising money for Rural Fire service.
#FightFireWithaFiver... @joeledgerton1 and I are raising money for Rural Fire service (@NSWRFS) here in Australia to help combat the terrible fires raging through county. Donate and spread the word!! #FightFireWithaFiver https://t.co/o6MYNObOoH pic.twitter.com/1BgsE0WRJw— nick kroll (@nickkroll) January 5, 2020
#AuthorsForFireys is a hashtag to an online auction raising funds for the Australian Country Fire Authority.
Getting queries about how #AuthorsForFireys works:— Emily Gale (@EmilyGale) January 5, 2020
- Twitter is the auction room.
- You are your own auctioneer.
- Dispatch the item (or service) to the highest bidder after receiving proof of donation.
- Starts tomorrow, ends Saturday.
- You're the best, you know that?❤️
All proceeds from The No Sign of Rain print, by Australian artist BossLogi will go to the Australian Red Cross.