The 2019 – 2020 bushfire season in Australia has been significantly more intense than previous years. So far, 16 million acres have burned, 2,500 structures have been destroyed, 25 people have been killed, including three fire fighters, and countless hundreds of millions of animals have perished.
These bushfires have been extremely detrimental to animal life, with University of Sydney professor Chris Dickman estimating that 480 million animals have perished, and that “The true mortality is likely to be substantially higher than those estimated.” Approximately one-third of koalas in NSW are believed to have been killed in the fires.
Bushfires first broke out in New South Wales in September. NSW is located in Southeast Australia and includes the major cities of Sydney, Newcastle, and Canberra. As of this writing, there are 136 fires currently burning in NSW, of which 69 are not contained. In November, a catastrophic fire danger was declared in the Greater Sydney region for the first time. Fires have also impacted Victoria and Queensland. Last month the smoke in Sydney was dangerously polluted – so bad that air quality was measured as 11 times worse the “hazardous” level.
What can I do to help?
For most of the world, we are separated from Australia by oceans. The situations on the ground there can feel very abstract and far away. Still, just as with any other global disaster, people from around the world want to pitch in and help. So what can you do right now to help the situation in Australia?
Spread awareness on social media.
Your voice is one of the most important tools you have. Helping your social media connections learn about the bushfires in Australia is key to spreading awareness and ultimately helping those impacted by the fires. Do your best to share stories from reputable publications that report accurately and vet their stories.
Contribute to worthy organizations
It is critical that you do your research when opening your wallet to give, but there are a number of worthy organizations that you can support financially. Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief, NSW Rural Fire Service, and Port Macquarie Koala Hospital are among the organizations helping people and animals impacted by the fire.