Is it me, or have the catastrophic scenes of Australia's fires already slipped back in the newspapers? Since the big announcement of last week (#MEGXIT, obvs), our papers have been dominated with various scenarios whilst the very real and factual events in Australia have been a little neglected.
Even so, the images of wild fires ravaging homes, struggling volunteer fire fighters battling away, and koala bears being treated for burns are stuck in our minds. We're across the world feeling helpless, and think perhaps you might feel the same. So, without further ado, here are five ways that you can help:
1. Donate to a wildlife charity
Last week, we were being told that 500 million animals had been killed in the wild fires. This week, and if we include amphibians and reptiles too, the figure has almost doubled to closer to 1 billion. This includes a eye-watering 1/3 of koalas in New South Wales. Many of the animals that have survived are in need of veterinary care for their burns. Even once the burns have healed however, the future is not so bright due to a staggering loss of habitat. The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and WFF would be our two best bets.
2. Support the volunteer fire officers
It's believed that around 90% of firefighters on the ground battling the vicious fires are unpaid volunteers. At least 26 firefighters have been killed so far, several of which were unpaid volunteers. Many of these volunteers are also risking their livelihoods by supporting their communities: some who were previously reliant on welfare benefits, have been struck off for not being able to prove that they are applying for sufficient jobs per week. The Country Fire Office would be a great avenue to donate if you wish.
3. Make your social life count!
If you're somebody who likes to eat or drink out, then take some time to research which cafes, restaurants and bars are supporting the Australian fires before you decide on your weekend plans. In London alone, there's a huge range to pick from including choosing Australian wines on menus to support winemakers whose livelihoods are at huge risk following the fires, or attend one-off special supper clubs, or picking the right doughnut for your mid-afternoon snack. Check out this link for more suggestions!
4. Get behind the huge humanitarian efforts on the ground
Living in areas affected by the fires must be absolutely hellish. Loss of home, safety, and belongings leaves people vulnerable. That's before considering the health impact of the heavy smoke blanketing swathes of Australia. When the area on fire in Australia is superseded onto a map of England, it's absolutely shocking. If you are able to donate, our suggestions would be the Red Cross
5. Host your own fundraiser
We can think of a few easy options here: firstly, something like a bingo night, supper club or work bake sale. You put in the organisation, and rally a good group who will make a contribution in return for some fun. This seems the best route given charities in Australia have said they are inundated with food and clothing donations but don't have the resources to sort through it all. Even small events can make a huge difference!