No amount of words can express the devastation caused by the ravaging bushfires in Victoria that have inflicted unheralded suffering, loss of life, homelessness.
The current toll is a shocking 181 dead with many still unaccounted for and police expecting the figure to reach 300, and at least 750 homes lost and destroyed 350,000 hectares of land.
Having been in the Dandenongs, Melbourne’s ranges on Saturday in heat of 49 degrees and 70 km/h winds, I can say personally that it was disorientating and scary. My parents home was also only 20 km away and the weather was ferocious and intense. Flying back to Sydney on Sunday evening, long plumes of smoke were clearly visible from the air.
Our thoughts and wishes goes to those whom have lost, and whom have helped during this past weekend of a ferocious hell.
Wherever you can, whatever you can please help. Donations and pledges have reached $70 million AUD already but plenty more is needed.
Important Contacts & Advice:
#bushfires Up-to-the-minute requests and information
Victorian Bushfires support website
Victorian Bushfire Information Line – 1800 240 667
Victorian Bushfire Accommodation Donation Hotline – 1800 006 468
State Emergency Services: 132 500
Victorian Government: 1300 366 356
Bushfire Appeal 1800 811 700
Bushfire Information Line 1800 240 667
Free Legal Advice (03) 9607 9550
Australian Red Cross 13 14 95 (the Red Cross have advised that their donation line and website are struggling under the weight of demand, but ask that you keep trying! Additionally, please give blood – the Victorian blood-bank is struggling.)
Telstra & BigPond Services 13 22 03 – free call diversion, calls etc
Salvation Army donations, including clothes, household goods
Commbank – Emergency claims and assistance 13 24 23
Commonwealth Bank Bushfire Appeal – donations to BSB 062-000 Account 120 757 00 (or in person at any branch)
Australia Post – donate at your local post office
Wildlife Victoria – 131 111 – donate to help save the animals caught in the fires (special request: please leave water outside for injured animals, and keep household pets – cats and dogs – contained to protect weaker wildlife)
Coles Supermarkets – all profits from shopping on Friday will be donated to the appeal
Do you need help recovering from the bushfires
How you can help people affected by the bushfires
All images courtesy of Fairfax and News Ltd.