In this file photo, firefighters drag a hose to battle a fire near Bendalong, Australia, Jan. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Disaster Aid Canada raises over $40,000 for Australian wildfire relief efforts

Funds will be directed to Rotary clubs on the ground in impacted communities

As fires continue to rage in Australia, Ladysmith based Disaster Aid Canada is collecting donations to help impacted communities.

So far, Disaster Aid Canada has raised over $40,000. Those funds will be dispersed through Disaster Aid International to the Rotary Australia World Community Service, (RAWCS). RAWCS will distribute the aid to local Rotary clubs to support projects they’ve set up on the ground.

“Several projects have already been established for specific bushfire areas around Australia. The Australia Rotary District Governors have formed a committee which will decide where the funds are to be distributed. We would typically utilize local Rotary Clubs on the ground in affected areas to identify those families, Individuals and small businesses in most need,” RAWCS communications manager John Stockbridge said.

According to reports from BBC news, about 130 fires are burning in New South Wales, and two large fires on the border between New South Wales and Victoria have merged into a “mega blaze”. It is estimated that one-billion animals have died in the wildfires.

Australia’s federal government has faced harsh criticism for their response to the crisis. Despite a 2019 report from the Australian government that said climate change has already resulted in more dangerous weather conditions for bushfires in recent decades, the federal government has mostly denied the role of climate change.

RELATED: Disaster Aid Canada provides aid to Hurricane Dorian victims in the Bahamas

“This may be one of the first really big, clearly climate change stories that impacts everybody. It’ll be very hard to deny that this doesn’t have something to do with the droughts, the extreme heat and so on,” executive director of Disaster Aid Canada, Gerry Beltgens said.

Beltgens said that Disaster Aid Canada wants to send help that makes sense – which is why they are sending money directly to local Rotary clubs.

“There’s a Rotary club in every town that’s more than a couple thousand people. They’re very active in Australia,” he said. “Anybody in any town that’s been fire affected can apply to their local Rotary club, or to the bigger picture for support.”

Like in most disaster responses, fake fundraising initiatives have popped up claiming to collect donations to help families and communities reeling from the wildfires. News Corp Australia has reported that at least 47 scam attempts have been reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission since September 2019.

With Disaster Aid Canada, all of the donations go where they’re supposed to.

“We’re not going to send anything, whether cash or materials, unless we know that we’re sending what’s being asked for, and that we have people who are going to coordinate the distribution of either the money or materials on the ground in that area,” Beltgens said.

Disaster Aid Canada is collecting donations across the nation, and donations will remain open for as long as aid is needed. For those who wish to donate, a portal is online at disasteraid.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Mowi’s B.C. salmon farms achieve environmental certification from independent watchdog

Aquaculture Steward Council certification complies with 500 sustainability and social measures

Island Health provides Baby Beds for infants north of the Malahat

A safe place for baby to sleep is key to reduce sleep-related deaths

Author chronicles churches built by pioneers in the Salish Sea

B.C. author Liz Bryan preserving a little bit of pioneer history in her latest book

North Island College president to retire next year

North Island College’s president and CEO has officially announced his plans to… Continue reading

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

RCMP disarm man experiencing mental health crisis

The male pulled a knife on officers and then held it to his own throat expressing a desire to die

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Time to protect B.C.’s unique glass sponge reefs, conservation group says

Climate change is a “serious and immediate threat” to the 9,000-year old sponges: study

Time to protect B.C.’s unique glass sponge reefs, conservation group says

Climate change is a “serious and immediate threat” to the 9,000-year old sponges: study

Indigenous leader Ed John pleads not guilty to historical sex charges

Ed John’s lawyer entered the plea by telephone on behalf of his client

Woman who talked to unconscious husband for 30 years gets solace from B.C. study

Ian Jordan suffered a head injury when he and another officer were on their way to a call in Victoria in September 1987

Most Read