Victorian Bushfires – how you can help

Edit: please go to http://www.fireupdates.org/ for up to date information on ways to help.

You have probably caught up on the dreadful news about the bushfires here in Victoria, now apparently known as ‘Black Saturday’. Tragically, there are now over 181 people confirmed dead (predicted to reach  up to 300),  over a thousand homes lost and estimated five thousand left homeless. As far as I know there are still 31 fires burning.

I’ve been using Twitter, Facebook and personal blogs to check on friends, who are thankfully safe. They tell me their communities will obviously be recovering from this for a very, very long time. My husband and I have been following Twitter hashtag #bushfires to find out how you and I can help. I’m posting this ‘unofficia’l list here for friends not on Twitter.

DONATE

  • You can donate to the Red Cross Bushfire appeal  1800 811 700 or in the UK, British Red Cross
  • You can donate at Myers and at Bunnings.
  • The Salvos have also launched a cash and donations appeal. For international donations, please go through http://www.salvationarmy.org and specify you want ‘Australian Bushfire Appeal’
  • Vinnies have launched an appeal
  • Telstra will be making a donation and additionally matching dollar for dollar employee contributions up to $250,000.
  • Donations are sought for animals caught in the fires
  • You can donate blood (urgently needed ) 13 14 95 to make an appointment (update: please use web to register as phone lines overloaded – hat tip to Dani for the comment)
  • Some major banks have now set up bank accounts for online donations

SHOP

TAKE ACTION

  • Some people are offering help (homes, paddocks etc) and you can too on or call  1800 006 468 . Some were leaving offers of help on an ABC blog (update: comments now closed) and now via http://forums.tradingpost.com.au/Topic2806-89-1.aspx @DebbieChang asks on Twitter if anyone could think about setting up a webby way to match offers of homes and people needing immediate accommodation (although I guess DHS  might need to be involved??)
  • Join the Vic Bushfires Causes group on Facebook
  • Join the “Applaud the CFA heroes and empathis with the victims of the 09 Vic bushfires” Facebook Group
  • via @vicpremier Anyone willing to volunteer time and skills should call the Bushfire Volunteer Hotline on 1300 366 356 or visit – http://tinyurl.com/b8vb2l
  • Be prepared. Make sure your home is fire-safe and that you have a fire plan in place
  • Leave a message of personal support and care http://victorianbushfires.com

It’s very encouraging to see friends in Australia and overseas reaching out to these communities with compassion. I hope you can too.

You can read more about the Australian social media response to the bushfires over on Lee Hopkin’s blog.

Update: if you know of any other things people can do to assist, please leave a comment. I believe that donations of toys and clothes are not needed this week (hold off until next week) but for now, cash and blood donations needed most urgently.

14 thoughts on “Victorian Bushfires – how you can help

  1. Barry

    Keep it up. This part of Texas often suffers from wildfires and most know about the same in Southern California. Our thoughts and hopefully our donations go out to our colleagues in Victoria. Let us know what more we can do…;-)

  2. wonderwebby

    thanks Barry I really appreciate your generosity. It’s just devastating to see what has happened to our neighbouring communities. Glad to have your support.

  3. Michelle Zamora

    Hi Jaz, another great resource. You have made it extremely easy for us all to get involved to help – from donating blood to even the smallest cash donation – it is all of value at this time. Stay safe, Michelle x

  4. angesbiz

    Informative post Jasmin! It goes without saying that Corporate companies are getting behind this. Aussie’s are good at banding together when tragedy strikes. Thanks for all the links. Very useful!

  5. Ric Raftis

    Like many others who have jumped to provide information you have done a great job in setting up information links.

    My part has been to set up a blog specifically for people to leave personal messages of support and care. This came about as a result of the number of tweets I was receiving asking if I was OK and concern for others. I have also spent most of the last two days retweeting and providing information about the fires.

    If anyone wants to leave a personal message of support and care, they can do so on http://victorianbushfires.com There are also links on the site to donation points.

    All the best,

    Ric Raftis
    @RicRaftis on Twitter

  6. wonderwebby

    @Michelle I feel like it’s the very least I can do. I find it difficult to watch too much footage on television. It makes me feel like a passive voyeur. But participating and reaching out to assist, well that’s something we can invest our time in as you are with your street fundraising party. Congrats.

    @Angesbiz yes it’s great to see Australian companies getting involved and my list is by no means exhaustive. It’s comforting to see people from our local preschool to small businesses in the city getting together to raise much needed funds.

    @RicRaftis thanks so much for stopping by and sharing the link to your blog. I feel so lost for words. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and the communities who have lost so much.

  7. Debs

    Great job.

    To donate time, here’s the Go Volunteer site:
    http://www.govolunteer.com.au/volunteer/events.htm

    As for blood donations, I’ve read that blood donations are actually currently overwhelmingly full, but, because blood has a limited shelf life, they are asking people to register and they will be called to donate later on when current supplies run out.

    To make a blood donation call 131 495 or visit http://www.donateblood.com.au/

    Other sites aggregating the help:
    http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/emergency/current-events/bushfire/advice-for-people-wanting-to-help
    http://blogs.abc.net.au/victoria/melbourne_bushfiresoffer_help/index.html

    and you!

    Thanks.

    p.s.
    CFA asks people to use ABC Melbourne website for general fire info http://www.abc.net.au/melbourne/

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  9. Debs

    By the way, when this is all over… I suggest we all go out and get training for emergencies, at the very least a class in first aid, up to training for the CFA.

    In California each community offers courses in emergency training for civilians for when earthquake disasters hit. I don’t know if Australian communities have similar programs. But trained volunteers are a really valuable resource in times like these, and knowing what to do keeps you from panicking in an emergency. There’s a book called “the Unthinkable: how to survive when disaster strikes”, and the author says that the last thing you want to do in a disaster is try to think.

    Again, great job.

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