13 02 2009

The Victorian bush fires have been absolutely devastating, and brought home just how lucky our town was to avoid a similar situation only a few weeks ago. Regular readers of this blog will know how scared I was of that bush fire. And with a large bush block behind our house, I still don’t feel safe.

A firefighter in Gippsland, Victoria (from

A firefighter in Gippsland, Victoria (from

For those who want to help (especially those living outside Australia where information about donating can be thin on the ground), I’ve put together a short list of charities and volunteer organisations that are taking donations of money. Many humanitarian organisations are suggesting that you don’t donate goods as the cost of getting them to the affected areas can be more than the goods themselves — they need money to buy new stuff for those affected by the fires. And we’re not talking TV screens here — basics such as food and water, tents for shelter, clothes, toiletries, toys for the kids… The wildlife organisations need money for medicines, cages, oxygen, food, and for euthanising drugs for the thousands of native animals that survived but which are too damaged to be saved.

Anyhow, here’s a list of charities, banks, and volunteer organisations that will accept online donations via credit card or PayPal, no matter where you live in the world:

Finally, the Australian Information Industry Association is taking donations of new computer and telecommunications equipment and is coordinating a list of volunteers who have computer and ICT skills they can offer. Details:

I have no doubt there are many other organisations helping in this time of Australia’s worst natural disaster, but these would be good starting points if you want to help.

For those living in Australia, check what your employer is doing. Two of my clients are matching employee donations dollar for dollar, so if you donate $100 they’ll kick in another $100 to match your donation. It’s a quick way to double the relief effort, so don’t forget to ask. Oh, and these same clients will match a donation already made too — they just require a copy of the official receipt to show you donated.

Sam the koala getting a drink of water from firefighter David Tree

The real heroes