With fires devastating communities and landscapes in East Gippsland, north east Victoria, south west Victoria, southern NSW and across many other parts of the country, it has been a sombre start to the year.
All those affected by the bushfire—the firefighters, first responders, community members, and wildlife — are front of mind for us.
Here is an initial list of ideas about how you can help affected communities.
Here are some ideas on how you can help.
How to support emergency efforts
The scale of these bushfires is unprecedented. It’s why we’re calling on supporters to give generously to bushfire relief efforts such as the Australian Red Cross’s disaster relief and recovery appeal.
Support First Nations people and organisations.
A crowdfunder to help First Nations people affected by the fires can be found here.
Foodbank Victoria has already dispatched emergency food and water to the fire-affected areas. They’re seeking donations to keep the supplies going.
Help Goongerah residents rebuild.
The remote community of Goongerah in far East Gippsland has been hard hit by devastating fires. They need your help to repair and prepare to survive the remainder of this unprecedented fire season.
Support organic farmers
There are many organic and biodynamic farmers in the direct line of the bushfires across Southern Australia. Together with enduring the longest drought on record, we want to keep these farmers in business.
To recover from the fires and retain their organic certification farmers urgently need help with:-
- Certified organic fodder
- Certified organic agistment
- Transport to suitable organic farmland until the danger passes
- Funds to replace farm equipment, farm structures and implements
You can find out more and donate here.
Melbourne’s grassroots music community has rallied to the cause. Kim Salmon and other local acts will headline Fire Aid at the Old Bar in Fitzroy on Saturday 4 January. All funds raised will go towards volunteer firefighting services.
And some of you might like to join us at The Gaso in Collingwood on Tuesday 7 January for a fundraiser to support First Nations people affected by the fires. DRMNGNOW will headline the concert with more acts to be announced soon.
If you live in Gippsland
Support the community of Goongerah
Preserve our Forests Mirboo North (PoF) member, Rosemary Cousin is coordinating a relief effort from Mirboo North, focusing on Goongerah and surrounding communities in East Gippsland, where many stayed to protect their homes.
Apart from property loss, sadly there has also been massive wildlife destruction. It may be many weeks before the area is opened up so, residents will need a great deal of support. We have many friends in this region through working together on the forest campaign. If you would like to do something practical to help, please let Rosemary know.
What is needed:
- Bandages and other first aid materials, facemasks
- Food supplies - mostly non-perishables
- Building tools and materials - a wide range including solar powered and rechargeable power tools
- Fencing materials including staples, strainers, wire and posts
- Shade cloth, strong ropes, shovels, hoses, gardening gloves
- Fodder supplies: round bales, grains, pellets, animal recovery materials including salves for burns, baby animal sustenance (all species)
- Storage containers eg larger "rhino" metal containers
- Kitchen and living equipment - gas bottles and burners, pots and pans, plates and bowls,cutlery, bedding (not sure of clothing yet)
- Transport vehicles - semi-trailer/s, licensed driver, diesel
- Bigger things include generators, portable sheds (large & small), pumps, shelving, furniture
- Off-farm respite for horses, goats, sheep, chickens, dairy cows - with animal transport.
Please contact Rosemary if you can help in any way with the above E: firstname.lastname@example.org Mob: 0408 958 025
If you would prefer to make a financial donation, these are the recommended organisations:
- Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF) Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund - Helping Gippslanders Since 1978 donations can also be made at any NAB branch.
- Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org.au/campaigns/disaster-relief-and-recovery-bushfires donations can also be made at Post Offices
Gippsland horse safe is organising support for people who need assistance looking after their horses after the fire.
This relief effort is being facilitated by Tarrah and Phil Stacey, Kelly Van Den Berg, Tegan Hector and Kylie Dann at Gippsland Horse Safe Bushfire Assistance and Jaidyn McLellan who organising the generous donations and considerable logistics of getting hay and feed where it’s needed.
$7 buys a square bale
$30 buys a bag of feed
$70 buys a round bale
Account name - Fire Relief
We will NOT be using any donations for fuel or transport costs. All monies will go directly to purchasing fodder.
Check their facebook page for further details.
Please remember to leave water out for wildlife in hot weather.
There is useful info on animals and heat available here. https://www.facebook.com/wildlifevictoria/
Kangaroos and other animals
The Animal Rescue Collective is helping organise food for rescued kangaroos and other macropods. You can sign up to join the effort to feed wildlife across the the fire impacted landscape in East Gippsland. Details here.
For details on grassroots efforts to provide feed for native animals in East Gippsland, please check this listings page from EcoShout.
WIRES - supporting native animals impacted by the fires.
You can support their work here.
Get involved in recovery efforts
Once the fires are over, we will be collaborating with a number of groups and communities to support their recovery efforts. This will involve field trips to do hands on work - mending fences, cleaning up, building works, ecological restoration, etc.
These will happen primarily in Victoria.
If you'd like to be notified of when these trips are happening, please email email@example.com with WORK TRIPS in the subject line.
These trips would be volunteer efforts.
We’ll share more information about how to support bushfire relief and recovery efforts via our Facebook page so stay tuned.
If there are other things you think the Friends of the Earth network can do to help during this difficult period, please let us know by emailing Leigh.firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
For now, stay safe, look out for each other, and follow Vic Emergency for updates and info for how you can get prepared.
There’s still a long way to go to get through the summer.
To add groups and causes to this page, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with brief details and links.
IMAGE BELOW: Animal feed station with water bowl with stick, grass hay and wallaby pellets positioned near wombat hole with log protection, in East Gippsland. One of many set up by volunteers. Image: Sarah Day.