Australian bushfire

Through the generosity of the public a total of £1.341.17 was raised at Honiton Tesco and McColls , Ottery St Mary

The Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland Disaster Recovery Trust has launched an appeal to raise funds following the devastating bushfires in Australia. The Trust collates donations and makes grants to Rotary projects working to rebuild communities affected by natural disaster in the medium to long-term.

Australia is no stranger to bushfires however, the 2019-2020 season proved to be unprecedented in many ways. The first major bushfires began even before the official arrival of spring in June and then new out-of-control fires sprung up at the beginning of Sept. 2019.

The fire situation worsened significantly at the beginning of Nov. 2019 with increasing temperatures and a prolonged drought.

More than 46 million acres (72,000 square miles) of land were burned – roughly the same area as the entire country of Syria. At least 3,500 homes and thousands of other buildings were lost and 34 people died in thousands of fires between June 2019 and March 2020. The majority of deaths and buildings destroyed were in New South Wales, while the Northern Territory accounted for approximately 1/3 of the burned area. Many of the buildings that were lost were farm buildings, adding to the challenge of agricultural recovery that is already complex because of ash-covered farmland accompanied by historic levels of drought. At least 80 percent of the Blue Mountains World Heritage area in NSW and 53 percent of the Gondwana world heritage rainforests in Queensland (QLD) were burned

The most significant ongoing need is for the appropriate resources and funds to rebuild communities, houses and other structures in ways that are resilient toward extreme wildfires. While 3,000 homes were destroyed, thousands of businesses and other buildings including outbuildings were also destroyed. Insurance may not cover these losses, but it is important for the community, especially farmers, to get them rebuilt.

Wildlife rehabilitation and animal recovery efforts will be ongoing for a number of years due to the extensive destruction of habitat and the inconceivable loss of animals.

Given the large number of volunteer firefighters, even with the government assistance support, there is also a need to support them and to help stabilize their incomes after being away from work for several weeks or months.

Australia is also encouraging tourism once the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, citing the many areas of the country that have not been touched by fire. The Australian Tourism Industry Council estimates that the bushfires have cost the industry $A1 billion/$690 million USD.

As with all disasters and large-scale emergencies, it is most effective to donate money to groups already engaged and coordinating on the ground at the disaster site. They often have the ability to take that monetary donation and double or triple its value through their local partnerships.

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back There are over 30,000 Rotary Clubs in over 130 countries across the globe. The Rotary Foundation is our own global charity undertaking humanitarian projects around the world. Our International team plans and co-ordinates our involvement in that work.