20 Feb 2020 //

Heartwarming gestures in the midst of Australian bushfire

Australia is in dire condition. Since the massive fire began ravaging the country, twenty-four precious lives have been taken, hundreds of homes have been damaged, thousands have been compelled to evacuate their homes, half a billion animals have perished and a staggering six million hectares of land have been obliterated. In the midst of this chaos, Australians have provided really abundant heartwarming help for each other.

Lots of people are helping out the wildlife in danger. The WWF is working on the koala crisis specifically to provide emergency care and (once the wildfires are stopped) plant 10,000 trees to increase habitat as well as protecting existing habitats. Patrick Boyle, 22-year-old hunter, went on solo missions to get nearly ten koalas to help. “Farmers, hunters, and workers are the ones out there actually taking action right now,” he said.

The Irwins are carrying on Steve Irwin’s legacy by helping 90,000 animals, many of whom were harmed in the fires.

WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue, and Education Services) rescues and cares for hurt, sick, and orphaned animals. One of their volunteers, Tracy Burgess, has fifteen possums living in her home.

As well as the important work with wildlife, many are coming together to help one another. Erin Riley has helped around fifty people with her organization, FindABed which has offers of accommodation from 3,000 people. Her goal is to help with “anything from just somewhere to have a cup of tea and wait, to somewhere to stay more long term.”

A pharmacy within bushfire-affected communities has been kept open by Raj Gupta. His own house was burnt down and he cannot accept payment for the medications (due to a loss of power), but he believes that his clients “are very honourable people” who will return to pay when they can.

A group of Muslims in Sydney travelled 200km to donate 20 pallets of water which is equivalent to 36,000 bottles of water to distraught victims and courageous firefighters. The idea struck boss, Sam Soukie, when he learnt about a benevolent individual’s effort to ameliorate the situation simply by travelling down with only a ute filled with water. After all, a little help goes a long way. In addition to that, the Kateb Hazara Association, an Afghan community group, made a generous donation of AUD18,252 to the Rural Fire Service.
Celebrities and musicians have collected donations–either through social media or fundraising gigs. Smaller acts–such as Sundanese refugee Ibrahim welcoming in musician Kathy Mikkelson, eleven others, and three dogs on New Years Eve for a festive night of food and shelter–make all the difference for those impacted.

Every little bit counts and through the fires, the people of Australia are coming together to remind each other of this. We have learned a lot from these heartwarming stories. What about you?