Devastating wildfires still burn in Australia as firefighters hurry to put the flames out. Donations have poured in from around the world to help combat the crisis. Among them have been several from high-profile celebrity figures.
The natural disaster has left more than two dozen people dead and burned almost 25 million acres of land. Over the past couple months, authorities have accused 24 people of deliberately setting fires.
Natural disasters expert Paul Read told BBC News, “Just under 90% of Australian bushfires were caused by human activity, which includes deliberate arson, carelessness or recklessness.”
But not all fires are intentionally started. “About 13% of the 62,000 fires a year in Australia are caused by lightning strikes,” according to Read.
Thankfully, dozens of celebrities have donated to help the efforts of the Australian Red Cross and the wildfire rescue organization, WIRES. One of the bigger donations was made by Leonardo DiCaprio through his environmental organization, Earth Alliance. He donated three million dollars towards the Australian Wildfire Fund.
“Earth Alliance launched the Australia Wildfire Fund to handle the donation, while also soliciting help from others. Per the fund’s website, 100 percent of donations will go directly to local firefighting efforts, support for affected communities and wildlife rescue operations,” according to a Rolling Stone.
Many more celebrities have donated sums of more than 500,000 dollars to the cause. Chris Hemsworth and his family contributed one million dollars towards fire services.
“Hi everyone. Like you, I want to support the fight against the bushfires here in Australia. My family and I are contributing a million dollars. Hopefully you guys can chip in too. Every penny counts so whatever you can muster up is greatly appreciated. In my bio I’ve added links to support the fire fighters, organizations and charities who are working flat out to provide support and relief during this devastating and challenging time. Beyond appreciative to everyone around the world for their well wishes and donations. It really does make a difference, so dig deep!” Hemsworth captioned on an Instagram post.
Shawn Mendes, another generous celebrity, shared that he and his foundation would donate towards the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.
“Every time I’ve been to Australia I’ve fallen more and more in love with the people & wildlife. Please join me to help support relief efforts for the devastating effects of the Australian wildfires. The @shawnfoundation & I are making donations to benefit the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund & two local organizations – the NSW Rural Fire Service and the South Australian Country Fire Service. Every donation matters!” Mendes wrote on Instagram.
Other celebrities such as married couple Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, Elton John and P!nk donated 500,000 dollars each.
P!nk tweeted, “I am totally devastated watching what is happening in Australia right now with the horrific bushfires. I am pledging a donation of $500,000 directly to the local fire services that are battling so hard on the frontlines. My heart goes out to our friends and family in Oz.”
At the Golden Globes, actress Cate Blanchett brought up the important issue and advised everyone saying, “There are a lot of Australians in the room tonight, and I know we’re all very grateful for the call-outs to our fellow compatriots who are suffering under the bushfires.”
Actress Jennifer Aniston also commented at the Golden Globes saying, “Make no mistake. The tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change-based. We need to act based on science, move our global workforce to renewable energy, and respect our planet for the unique and amazing place it is.”
Image courtey of Harper’s Bazaar