Extremely high temperatures and months of intense drought have fueled a series of massive bushfires across Australia. Here is what you should know about the Australia wildfires, and how you can help people and animals at risk.
1. The current Australian wildfire season is unprecedented in scope and impact—no state in Australia has been spared.
Fires have been burning since September 2019, impacting every Australian state. There are currently more than 100 active fires in New South Wales alone, with more than 2,000 homes already destroyed. Approximately 17.9 million acres of bush, forest, and parks have been burned. Experts are pointing to climate change as a contributor to the worsening fire season in Australia.
2. The wildfire-caused death toll stood at 27 people as of Jan. 9, 2020. Tragically, more than a billion animals are estimated to have died, been injured, or displaced.
Four of the individuals killed were volunteer firefighters, and the death toll is only expected to rise. Additionally, species that are crucial to biodiversity are at risk of becoming extinct, with habitat loss making it nearly impossible for animals to survive without intervention—even if they did initially escape the fires.
Source: BBC + Washington Post
3. Air pollution from smoke could cause long-term health concerns.
The air quality of the Australian capital Canberra was rated as the third-worst of all major global cities in early January. Medical professionals are warning communities about the fatal and long-lasting consequences the pollution will have, particularly on children, the elderly, and asthmatics. They are urging people to stay indoors to protect their lungs from pollutants.
Source: The Guardian + BBC
4. GlobalGiving partners are already on the ground, helping survivors access food, shelter, and other emergency services.
The Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving is working with responding partners to meet the immediate needs of the Australian wildfires survivors, first responders, and animals. Initial funding from generous donors is already making a difference on the ground—through the delivery of food to displaced families, the financial support of firefighters, and the administration of lifesaving care to injured koalas and other animals. Once urgent needs are met, the GlobalGiving Australian Wildfires Relief Fund will transition to support community-led, long-term recovery efforts. See a list of our responding partners.
Source: GlobalGiving Australian Wildfires Relief Fund
5. Cash is the best way to help people in need during a disaster like the Australian wildfires.
Why? Survivors’ needs vary greatly by location and throughout the life cycle of recovery. Some will require financial support, medical care, and psychological assistance years down the road. You can learn more about the importance of cash donations in this infographic.
Source: GlobalGiving + USAID Center for International Disaster Information
Make a donation now to GlobalGiving’s Australian Wildfires Relief Fund to help survivors and to fuel community-led recovery.
Featured Photo: Disaster Relief and Recovery by Australian Red Cross Society