Bushfire relief: The many ways you can help and stay aware.

Merlot and Cooper, The Hug, 'Wildhaven', Black Saturday Bushfires, St Andrews, Oct 2009
Merlot and Cooper, The Hug, 'Wildhaven', Black Saturday Bushfires, St Andrews, Oct 2009

At Urban, our thoughts are with all fellow Australians, especially our heroic CFA, RFS and emergency workers through this devastating crisis. The loss of lives, wildlife, homes and habitats have left us heartbroken. We are looking at ways we can support affected areas and will continue to inform our readers on the many ways we can help in this crisis.

Here is how you can help:

SEED

Donations to Indigenous climate justice organization Seed will help young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people campaign for solutions to the crisis. 

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army are supporting communities within the affected areas, with the goal is raising $3 million for disaster relief. 

Donations can be made by calling 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or by clicking here.

CFA Victoria 

A Bushfire Disaster Appeal has been established to support community members affected by the recent bushfires in East Gippsland and Hume. Click here to donate.

Red Cross

Red Cross are supporting thousands of people in evacuation centres and recovery hubs across Australia. Donate online here, or via phone on 1800 733 276.

Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund

Donating to GERF means that your donation can be used to provide immediate financial assistance to Gippslanders when they urgently need it. Donate online here.

Wires Wildlife Rescue

WIRES volunteers are on standby to enter fire grounds once the RFS and National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) declare an area safe to access to assist animals in need. Donate online here

Foodbank Australia 

Foodbank is a food relief organisation, playing a vital role providing essential supplies to support the work of first responders and emergency services as well as giving ongoing assistance to affected communities during the months and years it takes to recover. Donate online here.

RSPCA Victoria 

RSPCA are working with Agriculture Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to coordinate a response for animals who require assistance during the bushfires. Donate online here.

Air BNB

If you’ve been displaced or are helping with relief efforts, you can book free accommodation between 2 January 2020 and 16 January 2020, via AirBNB. Click here for details.

Zoos Victoria

Your donation will help fund emergency veterinary assistance and scientific intervention. All donations either great or small will help the response to this crisis. Click here for details.

Wildlife Victoria

Donations made to Wildlife Victoria will be distributed to wildlife shelters and carers to help rebuild enclosures and equipment lost in the fires so that they can continue their lifesaving work. Click here for details.

Wildlife Hospitals are struggling to cope with the amount of animals coming through seeking refuge, you can help in more ways by sewing small handmade items such as koala mittens for burnt pads and pouches for marsupials. The RSPCA’s ‘how to’ worksheets and videos have shown people how to create items from scratch.

Bushfire relief: The many ways you can help and stay aware.
A list of hand crafted items needed from the ARCCG

Leave a bowl of water out on your front porch or around the garden for any animals that might need it.
If you have a pet, refrain from walking them or exposing to the hazardous air quality outside.

Australian comedian Celeste Barber has an incredible donation fund set up benefitting multiple charities and organisations.

Unfortunately, scammers and looters are exploiting people in this bushfire crisis. It is important to remain vigilant and refuse door-knockers, cold calls and donate to registered charities only.
If you believe you are being scammed or have been scammed, call the ACCC’s line - 1300 795 995 - or report it on the Scamwatch website here

It is also worth noting that affected communities often do not have anywhere to put donated toys, clothes and other goods right now, so selling them and using the money raised could be an option for those without spare money to give.

AIR QUALITY

If you’re worried about air quality in our cities and fire affected areas, buy a face mask.
In this instance, where the air quality has been punching above hazardous in most areas, a cheap cloth mask won’t suffice.

P2 Face masks are the only sort that can filter out a meaningful amount of pollution and dangerous particles. These can be found at hardware stores such as Bunnings.

If you’re having trouble breathing, seek medical attention immediately and consider investing in an asthma pump from the local chemist. Ask your doctor about options such as an air purifier, to keep your home safe from pollutants seeping through.

Being aware of the air quality in your town or city that you might experience can be viewed online at aqicn.org and epa.vic.gov.au.
Both sites are updated daily and give insight into pollutants you are exposed to.

Bushfire relief: The many ways you can help and stay aware.
Air Quality Index for Randwick, Sydney measured at a hazardous 518 on the 8th of January, 2020.

If you’re volunteering in bushfire affected areas, take extra precaution approaching burnt buildings, especially older buildings as dust and asbestos particles linger in the rubble.

WRITE TO YOUR LOCAL MP

Write to your local MP and let them know how you feel about Australia's dismal action on climate change and protecting the environment. Urge local politicians to act.
Here is where you can find your local MP.

Finally, we would like to thank all of the firefighters, donors, volunteers and emergency workers who are on the front line saving lives and homes and protecting our environment and the beautiful wildlife that lives amongst us.

Nicholas Failla

Nicholas Failla

Nicholas is a content writer and graphic designer who is passionate about cities, architecture, urban planning and sustainable communities.

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