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5 Ways to Help in the Bushfire Crisis

Like so many fellow Australians, we’re heartbroken and struggling to comprehend the enormity of Australia’s bushfires, which includes the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island fires here in South Australia.

The magnitude and losses are immense.

Nationally, over 8.4 million hectares have burned, 25 people have lost their lives, and over 1700 homes are destroyed. An estimated 500 million animals have perished. On Kangaroo Island 25,000 koalas are believed dead and species such as the KI Dunnart are feared extinct, on top of the humanitarian crisis.

As we grapple with these dark times, our community pooling together is a shining light.

From the bravery of our emergency services heroes to selfless acts of individuals, the spirit of the Australian (and global) community to give time, money, resources, and compassion provides us with the hope we desperately need.

Here are 5 ways to support our communities and wildlife:

1.   Donate to the Bushfire Appeal

One of the best ways to offer support is to donate to the Bushfire Appeal, enabling allocation of resources where they’re most required. Official sites include the State Emergency Relief Fund, CFS Foundation, Kangaroo Island Mayoral Relief and Bushfire Fund, Australian Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and the Vinnies Bushfire Appeal.

Food and financial donations can be made to Foodbank SA.

2.   Donate to Help Wildlife 

Funds are desperately needed to retrieve, assess, shelter, treat and rehabilitate animals affected by the bushfires. SA organisations to donate to include South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management, Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue,  Adelaide Koala Rescue, Fauna Rescue of SA, Kangaroo Island Wildlife Network and Freedom Hill Sanctuary.

General advice for looking after wildlife during bushfires can be found here.

3.   Volunteer Your Time

Donate your time to a local organisation or register your interest for spontaneous emergency volunteering with Volunteering SA. Organisations like Fauna Rescue of SA offer training to new members who want to help with future crisis work.

4.   Help Children During the Bushfire Crisis

Unfortunately, many children have been directly affected by the bushfires and may be experiencing trauma. With extensive media coverage and community concerns, it is also likely most children are aware of the fires and their impacts.

As Emerging minds state children “depend on the adults around them for safety and security, and will need reassurance, care, and opportunities to share their feelings.”

Resources that may be helpful include these Ten Tips and Community Trauma Toolkit by Emerging Minds, and this short article by Maggie Dent (via Parent TV). Parents and educators may also find information by Psychologist Karen Young of Hey Sigmund beneficial.

5.   Be Mindful of Mental Health

According to Beyond Blue “communities and individuals affected by bushfire can experience a range of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that can be intense, confusing and frightening.” Remember you also don’t need to be directly affected by the fires to be experiencing grief, anxiety or distress in response to the crisis.

If you, or someone you know, need support please contact 24-hour services Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14, or speak to your GP. In an emergency, always call 000. For further information about emotional recovery from the bushfires visit Disaster Recovery.

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This post will be updated as further information becomes available and recovery efforts unfold. If you need advice about what to do after a bushfire or information about the help available in South Australia, please visit Disaster Recovery.

Image by Claire Lock.