Blue Mountains News

The Best Ways to Lend a Hand to Bushfire Relief

Source: Andrew Leigh, Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities
Posted: 21 Jan 2020
Millions of hectares of bush have been burned. Dozens of lives have been lost. Up to a billion mammals, birds, reptiles, bats, frogs and invertebrates may have died. Smoke from Australia’s bushfires has reached as far as New Zealand and Chile. Australia’s bush capital has recorded the worst air quality in the world.

Amid the tragedy, many of us are looking at how we can help. On the front lines, our volunteer fire fighting services need donations, which will allow them not only to fight this year’s fires, but also to be better prepared next season. In affected communities, Red Cross,Vinniesthe Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, the Salvos, Foodbank and the Rural Advisory Mental Health program are among those working with families who have lost their homes.
 
To help injured animals, and to provide sources of food and water to keep native animals alive, the World Wildlife FundWIRES, the RSPCA, the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and Adelaide Koala Rescue are among the bodies that are seeking donations.
 
At the same time, it’s important to be on your guard against the scammers. If you’re approached online or in person by a charity you don’t recognise, take a moment to check their credentials at Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. If they don’t check out, they don’t deserve your cash. Scammers rely on the high level of trust we feel for Australian charities, but a bit of homework will help you ensure that what you’re able to give will reach the people who need it most.

Cash is the most efficient way to assist, but it’s also possible to make in-kind donations. The key thing to remember is that people in disaster-hit areas don’t need random shipments of bulky goods. Like the container load of woollen jumpers that was once sent as part of an African disaster relief effort, unwanted goods can just get in the way. A much smarter approach is to jump on to the website of GIVIT, which operates as a matchmaking service, linking up generous donors offering, for instance, a laptop, washing machine or trampoline with charities and needy families.
 
Another form of in-kind assistance is to open up your home to host someone displaced by the bushfires. If you have a spare bedroom or apartment that’s available for two days or more, Airbnb Open Homes is a platform that lets you offer free temporary housing to someone affected by the disaster.
 
Recovery from disaster plays out on many fronts. Emergency relief charities have been building resilience in threatened communities for times like this and they will be working now with the tired and demoralised victims of the fires.
 
Our volunteering experts know that recovery works best when communities can be kept together and when those who have been hurt by the fires can share their stories. Alongside the ABC, community broadcasters have played a critical role in keeping endangered communities informed and up to date with local conditions.
 
With luck, the intensity of this disaster will start to subside. At that point, we need to keep hearing from the people affected, we need to recognise what they’ve been through and assist in the recovery. The aftermath of this disaster isn’t just measured in lost lives, homes and photo albums. We must recognise that there is also the psychological aftermath. In some cases, new social networks will form from the common bond of shared suffering. In other instances, old networks will need careful rebuilding.
 
Beyond the physical restoration and emotional recovery process, we all have a responsibility to inform ourselves of the risks for the future and how we collectively can reduce them. Expert environmental advocates play a crucial role in highlighting the risks posed by climate change and how we can mitigate the risks to public health that come with higher temperatures and more volatile weather.
 
Australia has thousands of extraordinary charities, doing fabulous work in affected communities. Like our heroic firefighters, they’ve got many months of hard work ahead of them as we work together to extinguish the blazes and rebuild our communities. By pitching in to support a worthy charity, you can make a real difference.
 
Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Charities.
 
This article was first published by the Herald-Sun on Saturday, 18 January 2020 and is republished here with permission.


Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

 
Taylored Bookkeeping Services Taylored Bookkeeping Services Taylored Bookkeeping Services Taylored Bookkeeping Services

Recent News

Flood aftermath at Blaxland and Katoomba landfills and Leura Cascades and Cliff Drive
Flood aftermath at Blaxland and Katoomba landfills and Leura Cascades and Cliff Drive
The damage toll in the Blue Mountains, following the state declared natural...
Accommodation Deals Make for Perfect Autumn Arts Escape
Accommodation Deals Make for Perfect Autumn Arts Escape
Scenic World has partnered with some of the Blue Mountains’ leading accommodation...
Mayor Calls for Strategy to Assist Groups Working to Help Wildlife Impacted by Fires
Mayor Calls for Strategy to Assist Groups Working to Help Wildlife Impacted by Fires
Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill will take a Mayoral Minute to Council...
Liveability Funding for New Springwood Library Entrance
Liveability Funding for New Springwood Library Entrance
Blue Mountains City Council has received just over $40,000 for Springwood...
All About Women Satellite at The Joan
All About Women Satellite at The Joan
The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre Presents;

ALL ABOUT...

What's New

Cadillac Tours 1920's @ Hydro Majestic
Cadillac Tours 1920's @ Hydro Majestic
Blue Mountains Limousines & Vintage Cadillacs Ride like The Great Gatsby. From $39 p/p. Upper Blue Mts only. https://tinyurl.com/rgqe3c
Katoomba Ghost Bus Tour
Katoomba Ghost Bus Tour
Blue Mountains Mystery Tours Join Paranormal Pete on the Ghost Bus to investigate the reports of Ghosts & Hauntings in Blue Mountains. 0418 416 403
We are open!
We are open!
Freeland Hiking Co. Come and explore the mountains with us on a day-tour in the Blue Mountains.
Autumn Getaway
Autumn Getaway
Sophia's of Leura Come and see the beautiful colours in Leura this Autumn. Book now for your escape.
Spa, slow combustion fire place, BBQ
Spa, slow combustion fire place, BBQ
Blue Gum House $480 special this weekend for 2 adults, linen included. + $30 per additional person, per night !
Also in this Section

Have You Visited

Announcement
Lindsay's Cafe: Beautiful & RelaxingJoin us for Breakfast or Lunch. Open from 9am weekends. 10am weekdays @ the Norman Lindsay GalleryView Lindsay's Cafe »