February 11, 2009
The brushfires in Australia: ways you can help
I’m not sure how far the news has travelled, but Australia has been hit with its worst brushfires in history, the toll now at (UPDATED 11/02/09) 173 dead and expected to rise as the areas affected are searched and especially since the fires are still burning. Fires have covered a great deal of southern Australia, affecting states Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales. Some of the fires were deliberately lit. Here is the latest BBC article about it: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7877178.stm (UPDATED 10/02/09) Here is an Australian newspaper summary, including further evidence of arson and a prediction of a death toll higher than 200: http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25031822-952,00.html (UPDATED 11/02/09) Death toll is now expected to reach 300. 26 fires are still blazing uncontrollably in Victoria. Aside from the death toll, the property damage has left families without homes and they are currently living in tents provided by the State and Federal governments.
At the same time, southern Australia has experienced a heatwave that has had numerous people hospitalised for heatstroke (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7860776.stm) and in far north Queensland, at the very top of Australia, flash flooding has taken at least (UPDATED 11/02/09) 7 lives, including a 5 year old boy who was taken by a crocodile after following his dog into the rising floodwaters (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7868854.stm). The floods have also destroyed property and homes but in a wonderful show of spirit, some of the flood sufferers have donated their disaster payment from the government to the Red Cross appeal for the bushfire victims.
Not to mention the ongoing drought which has affected farmers in central Australia for at least the last 5 years, destroying livelihood.
Native animals and pets are also hard hit. There have been quite adorable pictures circulating the net of the usually reclusive (and aggressive towards humans) koalas and other native wildlife drinking from cups handed to them by humans or from swimming pools or from hoses, but the reality is dire: the poor animals are dying of thirst and that thirst has overcome their natural fear of humans. Really saddening.
The need for immediate support, counselling, blood and financial assistance is enormous. In these harsh economic times, I know it’s hard for people to help, but if you can, Australians and their wildlife and pets need your help!
Click through for the list of ways you (we) can help, if you’re able. Also, I liked Liss’s idea of donating to pro-choice organizations as a response to Pastor Danny Nallish’s asshaberdashery. Just something worth considering, again, if you’re able. 🙂