Message from Eugene Dimitriadis one of our members in Australia:
The fires in Australia as the world knows are enormous, damaging to all life here and they are ongoing. It’s barely summer. Everyone here is stressed to lesser or greater extent. We all react individually. Only 2 members to our knowledge were close to fires. Both are OK so far and both prepared should thing turn worse. Harry is turning in his shed but like many in SE Australia said he is prepared to "loose it all", as am I, if fires come this way. I survived serious fires 11 years ago, these are much worse and largely uncontrollable such is their size and ferocity. May I suggest all members access and follow reliable Australian news sources (not Murdoch or sensationalised news). A few warnings, comments and suggestions follow.
ABC is best official source IMO for "fire news" and for seeking sources for making donations and giving help through them. (see links and information below) Personal donations should be through them or maybe the trustee here or his nominee for a collective donation by IWCS. What is “appropriate” is up to individual donors and collectively up to Trustees or officers. The losses from these fires will also be enormous. IWCS could donate collectively but that is slower and of less immediate impact. As some of you know, I post news and commentary on the fires etc from the ABC and other news sites, frequently on my FB page.
ABC has provided warnings about “crooks" taking advantage of others during this misery eg looting or pretending they are collecting for recognised charities or families. Be aware of scams. Some areas have experienced door-to-door collectors asking for donations. Website also use fake identities to capitalise on the fires. My interest has been focused on monitoring and correcting fallacy / fake news involving deception, in order to expose and correct the political, moral and ethical forces at play, more than anything else. I’ve left sympathies, "thoughts and prayers" to others.
Fires remain active along the NSW coastline, in far Eastern Vic (150km East of Warragul, my home town) and 200 km north in NE Victoria and into alpine areas of NSW. There were serious fires in South Australia as well, even some fires blocking major Highways eg between WA and Eastern States for weeks. Smoke which has spread across states, to NZ and even across the southern hemisphere. It remains a serious hazard, in towns and cities in VIC, NSW & ACT.
Recently, I HAVE enquired of members nearest to affected areas and earlier responded to concerns expressed by Gary Green and other US & Dutch members. Enquiries to members closer to the fires in NE Vic (far from me), have reassured me that they were OK at least in mid January.
Forests will eventually recover, the scars on people and animal populations and communities will probably take decades to heal, and that doesn't even consider the further impact our hot and drying climate will have in next decades.
My own donations for assistance have been to and through well known charities like Red Cross and RSPCA, but sometimes Salvation Army. These are all active at or near devastated areas. They are overcome with donations of gifts (food clothing etc) and only request cash donations. May I suggest donations ($) be made through them, maybe on behalf of IWCS if and when organised.
Its cooler here now after a bit of rain from a distant cyclone in Kimberley. Another is brewing so we hope for more summer rain from such benevolent sources in summer in the inland and SE of Australia. They can sometimes brings floods as NQ knows very well.
Biodiversity and species loss/extinction and recovery is a subject of much media attention now. In the absence of member impacts, perhaps this is where our donations should go? Air drops of food, eg carrots sweet potato & concentrate as pellets has started. Koalas have taken a big hit as have other animals who could not escape. Kangaroo island losses of wildlife have been especially high. When rain starts survivors will make a new start, from ground and trees and populations will grow with the forests (but not the Gondwanda rain forest). May I suggest donations could also be focused on suitable donor organisations (flora & fauna) and done collectively by IWCS Australasia (through the Trustee). More specific hands-on help eg planting or similar will suit some, requiring collaboration. Recovering wood from burnt sites is very risky and is probably not worthwhile anyway. But we as IWCS can offer help recovery-focused flora groups. This has been a severe (high temperature) fire, much hotter than usual.
We feel the deep concern of members and people around the globe, for me that's enough. Those who have lost fathers, homes, pets, farm animals and income sources feel the loss the most. Townships, villages and communities will need to rebuild. Most of us feel the suffering, of native animals. When forests regrow the animals will eventually recover although it will take a long time t reestablish equilibrium and townships and some species may be lost forever.
Links for News and for Donations
ABC News (a public funded and broadcasting corp that operates in all states and gives reliable information )
ABC link showing many agencies (like Red Cross etc) who actively provide assistance ABC Appeals (Bushfire Recovery Relief)
Banks here also provide opportunities for bushfire donations eg our Bendigo Bank
, guarantee 100% goes to people affected.
Best wishes to you all.
Photo credit: ABC.net.au