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

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

Local MLA Adam Olsen, a member of the Tsartlip Nation, here seen before the 2020 provincial election, said a new report finding “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system does not surprise Indigenous people. (Hansard TV)
MLA, Tsartlip member says ‘silo’ approach won’t work dealing with racism in health care

Adam Olsen calls for comprehensive approach in dealing with systemic racism

Aragon Properties’ proposed development for the corner of Cook and Pendergast streets in Cook Street Village was voted down by Victoria city council on Thursday night after a public hearing. (File contributed/ City of Victoria)
Lack of affordable housing spells end for Cook Street Village project in Victoria

Council narrowly defeats proposal for four-storey building on former Pic-A-Flic Video site

The University of Victoria will mark the eighth annual Giving Tuesday with its Add Sprinkles campaign which collects funds to support various student initiatives across campus. (Photo courtesy UVic Photo Services)
Nearly 150 Greater Victoria groups prepare for eighth annual Giving Tuesday

Last year Canadians raised nearly $22 million in 24 hours

A man was issued a $230 fine after refusing to wear a mask inside a Central Saanich business. (Central Saanich Police Services/Twitter)
Man issued fine after refusing to mask up in Central Saanich business

$230 ticket issued under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act

A report by investigator Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond found “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in a report released Monday.
Peninsula hospital one where ‘significant work underway’ to repair Indigenous relations

Investigation finds ‘widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people’ in provincial health care

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Left to right: A screenshot of NTC nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, FNHA regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Island Health’s medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns addressing Ehattesaht community members from Ehatis reserve in a Facebook live update. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Medical team sent to Ehatis reserve near Zeballos to guide community through COVID outbreak

17 cases, eight recoveries and no hospitalizations as Island Health praises First Nation’s response

Most Read