Australia fires continue despite relief efforts


Rick Rycraft

The Austrailian fires burned violently for several days, although the conditions have improved, more work needs to be done.

Faith Miller, Staff Writer

After the recent rain and decrease in temperature, attention towards Australia has died down, but it is still an important issue. These fires are still burning and continue to harm the animals and the people who live there. Almost half a billion animals have died and according to the Wall Street Journal, 26 people have died in the fires and many more have had to be relocated. However, many people and organizations, are pooling their resources to try and help as much as possible.

The Australian Red Cross is one of these organizations. The organization has sent teams across the country to help with evacuation and relief. Some of these stations include New South Wales, Victoria, and many more throughout South and Western Australia providing food, water, hygiene products, pet supplies, and much more. In some areas, mainly South Australia, the are psychological first aid for those who need it.

The Red Cross has also set up a way to provide grants to families whose main place of residence has been destroyed. The donations to the organization, are being used for helping people who have been affected. The website declares that all money and funds donated to Disaster Relief and Recovery from July 2019 solely be used towards the work to help those in Australia.

Some ways to help are happening right here in the states. Owen Colley is a 6 year-old boy who uses his connection to Australia to inspire him to help.  Colley is from Hingham, Massachusetts and when he heard about the fires that were happening, it hit home for him. His father, Simon Colley, is from Australia. According to CNN, Colley and his parents worked together to come up with a way to raise money for those affected. Owen began making clay koalas to give to people who would donate to the cause. People who donate $50 or more receive a little clay koala Colley made himself.

All proceeds go towards Wildlife Rescue South Coast, a wildlife rescue in New South Wales. They began with a fundraising goal of 1,000. However, as of Thursday, January 16th, they have raised 100,000 dollars. The family is looking into more ways to donate to other organizations in the country of Australia.

Many people are also coming together to try and rescue the animals still in harms way. One group put their effort towards Kangaroo Island. According to the Los Angeles Times, the 1,700-square-mile island is not only a popular tourist attraction, but also a wildlife preserve to multiple species.

It is run by Sam Mitchell and his wife Dana. With the fires overrunning almost half of the island, they are trying to save as many animals as possible. According to BBC, Mitchell and his team have set up makeshift clinics on a area of the outside grounds with volunteers trying to save as many animals as possible.

The injured koalas are brought in daily, some too badly injured to be saved. The park is running entirely on generators because the fires have destroyed the power lines. The clinic has run out of space for all the animals they are trying to treat so they are having to create alternative housing, like laundry baskets, to hold the koalas. Mitchell and his family have also started a GoFundMe campaign to help their efforts in saving the animals that live here. “[We want] to get them back to where they want to be – and that’s back in the trees.”

Many volunteers are still trying to do the best possible for these koalas.

Even though it has began to rain, many more fires are still happening. There are multiple places online to donate to organizations trying to make a positive impact on a bad situation. The dry season isn’t over and many worry there is worse to come. For more information on how to make an impact please contact the Durant Pawprint.