Australian bushfires have wreaked havoc on Australia
Learn how you can help
Evacuees, koalas, volunteers, and first responders need your support
Things have finally gotten slightly less fiery in Australia with the arrival of cooler weather and rainfall. That said, the bushfires have already devastated over 11 million hectares, and the fires will continue to burn for some time. The fires have killed 33 people so far and have potentially killed up to 480 million animals.
Part of the reason for these fires has been a weather phenomenon called the Indian Ocean Dipole(1) (IOD). This dipole relates to the water surface temperatures between the eastern and western parts of the Indian Ocean. This year, the temperature difference is greater than it has been in 60 years. The western part of the ocean is hotter, causing East Africa to face abundant rainfall and massive floods. The eastern part of the Indian Ocean is cooler, leading to extremely dry weather conditions and a high potential for drought(2)
How Can You Help?
Many people have lost their homes. Animal species and natural ecosystems have been scorched(3). The Australian economy will take a big hit, and these fires will affect Australia for many years, if not decades, to come.
If you want to help out, you can do so in a few ways.
- Donate money
- Donate household items
- Volunteer (mostly for those located in Australia)
- Spread awareness
If you are outside of Australia, donating(4) money and spreading awareness(5) are the easiest options.
General Aid Options
Red Cross Australia is working hard to assist evacuees with first aid and long-term recovery programs. They are also covering volunteer expenses, emergency expenses, and so on.
The Salvation Army is another great option. Your money will provide first aid, shelter, food, and other aid to victims and first responders(6).
St Vincent de Paul Society is providing money to evacuees trying to recover. One of their missions is to fight poverty and help people who are struggling financially.
Support the Children
Save the Children is working to help evacuated children find places to feel safe and play. Trained staff will work with the children to help them cope(7) with the disaster and process their experiences.
Support Firefighters and First Responders
Australian comedian Celeste Barber started a fundraiser for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.
Authors For Fireys is auctioning(8) books to help out. The proceeds will be sent to firefighters in Australia. They also provide links to donate to multiple different fire services.
Support the Animals
A donation to the Koala Hospital will help sick and injured koalas receive treatment and get released back in the wild. This organization is also working to expand the koala habitat.
Gofundme has a fundraiser for koalas that have lost their homes on Kangaroo Island. Your money will help with veterinary costs, supplies like milk and food, and general care for the koalas.
WWF is also taking donations via a koala adoption program. You won’t literally adopt a koala, but your money will help with rehabilitating sick and injured koalas. The WWF is also one of the world’s leading conservation organizations.
WIRES is taking donations and accepting volunteers. They are helping many different animal species that have been displaced(9) and made homeless in the wake of the bushfires.
Lastly, Animals Australia is also taking donations to help koalas and other animals.
While this is a good list of organizations taking donations, there are plenty of others out there. Just be sure to avoid scams(10). If you are unsure if the organization you wish to donate to is legitimate, type the name into Australia’s list of registered charities to check.
All donations help, even if it is a small amount. In honor of all the hard work and volunteering being done, I will be contributing a small amount of money to WIRES. If you cannot donate, try to spread the word to let other people know how they can help.
1. dipole (n.)
Def. a pair of separated poles, one positive and one negative
Ex. East Africa is flooding due to the Indian Ocean Dipole and warmer waters in the western half of the ocean.
2. drought (n.)
Def. a long period of time when there is little or no rain
Ex. Today’s rainfall marks the end of the three-month drought.
3. scorch (v.)
Def. to burn and slightly damage a surface by making it too hot; to be slightly burned by heat
Ex. My face is red. I got scorched by the summer sun.
4. donate (v.)
Def. to give money, food, clothes, etc. to somebody/something, especially a charity
Ex. My family donated food to the local homeless shelter.
5. awareness (n.)
Def. knowing something; knowing that something exists and is important
Ex. Spreading awareness about Australia’s bushfires is one way to help out.
6. first responder (n.)
Def. a person such as a member of the police or fire department in a position to arrive first at an emergency, who has been trained to provide basic medical treatment
Ex. They told the victim to calm down and wait for the first responders to arrive.
7. cope (v.)
Def. to deal successfully with something difficult
Ex. Over time, the child learned to cope with her parents’ divorce.
8. auction (n.)
Def. a public sale in which things are sold to the person who offers the most money for them
Ex. I won this fancy new watch in an eBay auction.
9. displace (v.)
Def. to take the place of somebody/something
Ex. We hope the bushfires will end soon and stop displacing families.
10. scam (n.)
Def. a clever and dishonest plan for making money
Ex. Their scam got people to email money to a fake charity.