Do you have 2020 vision?
It's been a heartbreaking start to the New Year across much of Australia. Whilst we know the threat is not over with a tough weekend ahead, we're envisioning a year full of wet stuff! Quenching rains for a dry and barren land. And downpours to extinguish fires and provide some relief for our hardworking firefighters.
But it can be hard to know how to help in these times.
In 2018 we wrote about the drought in an extended blog post. This afternoon, we penned the following on the Australian bushfires; how you can find out more, how you can help, and why it is important that we come together.
Many media outlets have rolling coverage on the Australian bushfires including the emergency briefings provided by the Government and the State Emergency Services. The ABC News coverage can be found here. If you are in a bushfire impacted area or under threat ABC Radio provides ongoing local coverage.
Each state and territory has an online resource showing current incidents, threats and warnings. Many of these are also available as an app to be downloaded to your mobile device.
If you are travelling, please plan ahead. Many roads are closed in and around bushfire affected areas. Live Traffic (and the equivalent resources in your state) can help you plan.
How to help
Like many natural disasters, the bushfires have impacted many of us.
Lives have been lost.
Homes and businesses have been destroyed.
Thousands of people, pets and livestock have been displaced and often left stranded.
What can you do? There are many ways to help now, and into the future. Recovery will take a long time, and all those affected will need ongoing support. But we can help. And we can help from wherever in the world we may be.
The following list has been compiled of a number of ways you can support efforts. This list is not intended to be exhaustive - it purely acts as a starting point for suggestions. We welcome other suggestions and ideas in the comments.
The need of those who have been affected are varied, and our emergency frontline services and emergency relief charities are best placed to know what is needed and where. Monetary donations to these organisations are one of the most useful and immediate ways to help.
Some suggestions include;
There are multiple GoFundMe campaigns that have been set-up for individuals and communities affected by the fires. Please be aware when donating to these as a number of scams have been reported and are currently being investigated by police.
Some charities will reach out to the immediate community for the donation of goods. These requests will often be time sensitive and specific. They may be trying to cater for the needs those recently displaced by the fires, setting up an evacuation centre, or providing needs to frontline services. If you are in a position to assist in these call outs stay up-to-date by following local pages and support groups on Social Media (Facebook in particular).
As time passes, more long-term needs will need to be met. Donations of larger items may be facilitated through charities such as Givit. You can stay up-to-date with needs in your local area by regularly checking the website.
The Victorian Farmers Federation is coordinating the donation of fodder into fire affected areas in Victoria. Buy a Bale through Rural Aid, Burrumbuttock Hay Runners and Need for Feed are also coordinating donated hay and supplies into fire affected areas across Australia.
The Australian Red Cross is calling out for blood donations during this time.
Your time is one of the most precious gifts you can give.
Whilst many organisations, such as the NSW RFS and Australian Red Cross, require volunteers to be members and undergo training prior to a natural disaster, you may consider becoming a member. Not all work is frontline, with a number of roles involved in many different organisations. We've barely scratched the surface with our examples in today's post; from catering, communications and administration, to firefighters, chaplains and field teams.
Communities right across Australian will be calling out for people to give a couple of hours, a couple of days and a couple of weeks in coming months. Whether it's your local evacuation centre who needs a hand in welcoming people, or the local showground in preparing pens for displaced pets and animals.
In time, BlazeAid will call for volunteers to repair fences and help rebuild communities and farms after the fires.
We stick together
Australians are known for their comradery.
We stick together. We have our mate's back. We help each other out.
Of the most important thing you can do is to reach out now.
Touch base with your loved ones.
Message those in fire affected areas to let them know they are in your thoughts.
Call those in the wider fire regions that may be affected by the smoke haze and have difficulty breathing, particularly the elderly, young, or vulnerable.
Touch base with those you know who volunteer and their loved ones. It takes a community, and their support networks often spend nights worried whilst holding the fort at home.
Offer your praise to those who's leadership at this time you admire. Criticism is forthcoming, but praise and gratitude is often not. Local leaders from fire Captains through to our state and federal leaders have a lot on their minds and weight on their shoulders at the moment. Now is not the time for political point scoring.
Let's all do our bit to support and help one another. And fingers crossed for those rains real soon in 2020!
And... apologies for the hiatus in posts here. More on our busy time with #BuyFromTheBush later!
Little BRICK Pastoral celebrates Australian agriculture through unique photos of a Lego farmer.
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