7 ways to support victims of the bushfire crisis
Australia’s bushfire crisis has affected almost everyone in the country in some way this summer. Situations like this really bring out a sense of community, which is the one silver lining on what has been a dark cloud over the Australian summer. Personally, I spent my new years at the evacuation centre at Batemans Bay, and I can’t help but think of Kylie, a nurse from Melbourne who stayed up all night, while on holidays, to help care for dozens of elderly and disabled persons who were unable to return home.
In the wake of the crisis, many of us want to help in any way we can. The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, recently explained in a press conference what is and is not needed in bushfire affected regions:
“I don’t want to appear harsh, but we don’t need any more clothes, we don’t need any more food, we don’t need any more trucks on our roads... we don’t have the warehouse capacity, the people or the time to sort through it,” he said.
“What we do need and what those families need most and what the agencies have asked me to convey to the Victorian community – cash to the fund I’ve just announced is the best way you can contribute to support those doing it really tough.
“Money can be given to those families and they can make decisions that are much more flexible... rather than us having to set up warehouses and deal with many, many truckloads of clothes and food and other things. We’re very grateful, and I don’t want to appear harsh, but it’s really important those donations stop.”
With this in mind, I’ve done some research and collected a few links for some of the best places to donate to help victims of the bushfires.
Help a family directly using Givit
Givit is a registered not-for-profit that helps connect those in need with people who wish to make donations is a safe, private manner. You can use their site to see families who are in need and have requested items of assistance. Currently there are requests for food and petrol vouchers, tools, water tanks, and shipping containers. The site is not well known and currently has a small number of people both requesting and offering help, but I’m hoping we can change that. I’ve asked my family and friends in Batemans Bay to spread the word among needy families there locally, and hopefully among Livewire’s audience we can find people able to meet some of these needs.
Support the communities
The Victorian Bushfire Appeal
This is the fund that the Premier referred to in the section I’ve quoted above. It’s been set up by the Victorian Government and organised by Bendigo Bank to support communities in North Eastern Victoria affected by the fires.
Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery
The Red Cross was one of the first agencies on the ground providing relief in the wake of the fire, and they’ll be there supporting affected communities for a long time to come.
Support the firefighters
New South Wales Rural Fire Service
The true heroes over recent weeks and months have undoubtedly been the fire fighters on the front lines savings people’s lives and properties. Unfortunately, in the NSW RFS in particular, many brigades have been struggling due to a lack of funding. I read stories around Christmas time of RFS volunteers asking for firefighting equipment for Christmas as they didn’t have everything needed to fight the fires.
Though the Victorian firefighters appear to be better resourced than their NSW counterparts, it’s been a long and taxing fire season already, with potentially more to come in the months ahead. You can support their bushfire appeal, a local brigade, or the CFA more broadly.
Support the animals
WIRES (New South Wales Wildlife Information, Rescue, and Education Service) Wildlife Emergency Fund
From Port Macquarie to Eden, wildlife populations across NSW have been devastated by this year’s fires. WIRES is doing amazing work to protect populations of koalas, flying foxes, and many other native animals. In December alone, WIRES attended more than 3,300 wildlife rescue callouts.
Zoos Victoria Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund
Zoos Victoria are raising funds for emergency veterinary care and interventions to save wildlife populations in Victoria, for example, installing drinking stations in fire affected regions.
Another option worth considering is simply taking a holiday in one of these towns in the not too distant future. Batemans Bay, for example, is a tourist town that relies heavily on holiday revenues, which were hurt first by the closure of the Kings Highway, and then again when the fire fronts hit. Spending money in these towns will be critical for their long-term recovery once the acute period had passed.
Or if you've got friends or family in a bushfire affected community, consider just calling them up and asking if there's anything you can do to help directly.
Whether you want to help families, communities, animals, or
firefighters, there are plenty of great causes out there to get behind.
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Patrick was one of Livewire’s first employees, joining in 2015 after nearly a decade working in insurance, superannuation, and retail banking. He is passionate about investing, with a particular interest in Australian small-caps.
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