Over the past four months, bushfires in Australia have killed at least 28 people, displaced thousands more and destroyed over 2,000 homes. 11 millions acres of land have been burnt and millions of people have been affected by poor air quality. This crisis has been devastating and our hearts go out to the Australian people.
Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary, reached out to his Australian counterpart earlier this year to offer our condolences and stress our readiness to provide any help that was needed.
The Australian Government has been inundated with offers of assistance. Given that the UK does not have bushfire experience we can offer to Australia, last week we deployed an expert support and assessment team, made up of specialists from Defence, Health and Fire Services to ensure our assistance matches Australian needs with UK capabilities. This team has been meeting with the relevant officials on the ground to establish the most effective ways that the UK might be able to offer its support to Australian emergency responders. This focused support has been welcomed by the Australian government.
We also stand ready to give further support to Australia, including to address the environmental and ecological impact of the bushfires. Over a billion animals are thought to have perished, and there are concerns that some species found only in certain areas of Australia may have been wiped out altogether.
Australia is one of our most valued allies, partners and friends. We stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with the people of Australia. Our approach will ensure that we give them the help the need in the best way we can. We will do all that is possible to help them respond to and recover from this tragic situation and we are in close contact with the Australian government to provide this support.
If you’d like to support Australia’s first responders and fire affected communities, you can donate here:
• NSW Rural Fire Service: bit.ly/2uA7tit
• Victorian Bushfire Disaster Appeal: bit.ly/2s8iwyp
• SA State Emergency Relief Fund: bit.ly/2t2ph55
• Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery: www.redcross.org.au
If you’d like to support Australia’s wildlife, you can donate here:
• WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service): bit/ly/2FCcZTC
• RSPCA: bit.ly/2T9qGI8
• Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund: www.zoo.org.au/fire-fund/
• Animal Australia: /bit.ly/2QzFMi2