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How To Help Australia's Bushfire Devastated Communities

As parts of Australia battle the worst bushfire season the country has ever seen, here's how you can support the communities that have been devastated by the crisis.

Salvation Army spokesperson Major Bruce Harmer said the Salvos have deployed relief teams to provide food and water, along with emotional and practical support, to emergency services personnel and displaced people as they arrive at evacuation centres.

Bushfire Crisis

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The Most Powerful Images Taken During Australia's Bushfire Crisis

Powerful images from the country's bushfire-ravaged communities tell stories of the intense camaraderie and hope shared by the thousands of Australians who have been forced to either flee or fight during the crisis.

Thomas Eveans inspects the remains of his house which was destroyed by a bushfire in Torrington, near Glen Innes. Image: AAP
A property destroyed by fire at Koorainghat on November 11. Image: AAP

“We know from experience many of those displaced by the fires are going to need us for many months or years ahead. We are committed to standing alongside these communities for as long as it takes to get them back on their feet.”

“I appeal to the Australian community for an unprecedented response to our disaster appeal. These communities are going to need unprecedented support and we’ll be there to support them for the long haul. Australians are well known for standing together in times of hardship. Now is such a time.”

Lyn and Peter Iverson with their burnt-out office and shed on their property at Half Chain road, Koorainghat. Image: AAP

The Bushfire Disaster Appeal has been bolstered by Woolworths’ $500,000 donation as part of its S.T.A.N.D (Support Through Australian Natural Disasters) partnership with The Salvation Army.

To donate to The Salvation Army Bushfire Disaster Appeal, go to salvationarmy.org.au, call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or donate at any Woolworths checkout.

Finn Burns, 11, driving his family's boat as they fled the bushfires at Mallacoota on New Year's Eve. Image: ABC / Allison Marion
Wytaliba resident David Peters built what was affectionally known as the town ‘tavern’ on his property. He watched the tavern, and the rest of his property burn around him. Image: Getty

A number of other appeals to help people who are affected by the bushfires across Australia are also taking donations.

NSW Rural Fire Service Brigades and Donations Fund

Donors can support their local rural fire brigade with money helping fund training and emergency responses for people working across NSW.

Information on donating money and gifts to the NSW RFS is available here.

GIVIT Queensland Government Fire Appeal

The Queensland government is using its fundraising platform GIVIT to encourage people to donate to help people impacted by fires.

Donors can give both money and items to the appeal by heading to the GIVIT website and selecting the QLD Fires or NSW Fires tab.

A kangaroo trying to move away from nearby bushfires at a residential property near the town of Nowra, NSW. Image: Getty
QLD fires November 2019. Image: QLD Fire & Emergency Services

South Australia Country Fire Service

The CFS Foundation supports firefighters in SA. You can donate here.

Victoria Country Fire Authority

You can donate to the CFS in Victoria directly on their website.

Red Cross Relief And Recovery

The Red Cross Relief and Recovery Appeal raises money for people who are experiencing the impacts of a natural disaster or trauma. Donations made to the appeal help train staff and volunteers who become first responders to emergency areas, and help prepare communities for natural disasters.

The money is also used to supply emergency areas with water filtration and other hygiene equipment. Donate at the Relief and Recovery Website.

The remains of a car that was destroyed by bushfires near a home in the town of Balmoral, NSW on December 30. Image: Getty

St Vincent de Paul Society Bushfire Appeal

Vinnies is also running a bushfire appeal to collect funds for those affected by evacuations or have suffered

People can choose to donate set amounts to help provide food for evacuated families, contribute towards bills and unexpected expenses, provide clothing for families who have left everything behind or help cover costs of household goods such as bedding, furniture and appliances, for those whose houses were damaged or destroyed.

Appeals For Animals

The effects of the fires are also being felt by Australia's native animals.

A horse trying to move away from nearby bushfires at a residential property near the town of Nowra. Image: Getty
Image: Facebook/Port Macquarie Koala Hospital

Koalas can be 'adopted' at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital website. For $60 a year, treatment and recovery costs for a koala in need are covered.

To support koalas and other wildlife more generally, you can donate to FAWNA NSW incFriends of the Koala LismoreTaree Koalas in Care.

The Rescue Collective is collecting supplies for animal hospitals. Supplies can be dropped off at a number of locations or purchased online to be sent to their headquarters. Monetary donations are also accepted.

RSPCA NSW has deployed inspectors and staff to bushfire-affected regions to help people with pets and livestock at evacuation centres. You can donate here.

RSPCA Victoria is also accepting monetary donations, but requests no goods be donated as sorting through them would take the valuable time of staff away from helping animals.

WIRES received over 20,000 calls in December alone to help animals affected by the fires. You can donate to its emergency fund here.

Donated Goods

The national disaster has prompted generous donations from Australians, but Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, has urged people to give money rather than food or other goods.

"I don't want to appear harsh in any way, but we don't need any more clothes, food, trucks on our roads, we don't have the warehouse capacity, the people or the time to sort through," Mr Andrews said.

Mr Andrews confirmed the government will match the amount contributed during the Black Saturday tragedy in February 2009, pledging two million dollars to a bushfires fund.

The NSW RFS has also said they have reached "capacity" for donated goods and food on the South Coast.

With AAP. 

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au