As Victoria joins NSW to delcare a state of disaster with the loss of half a billion animals and the total death toll rising to 18, after a further eight deaths since Monday, bushfires continue to wreak havoc.
More than 1,200 homes have been already been destroyed and 13.5 million acres of land with residents fleeing their properties along the central coast to avoid the blaze, which is estimated to continue for months.
To help give displaced people some refuge, Airbnb has activated its Open Homes program in New South Wales and Victoria, which means those who have lost or had to evacuate their properties due to the fires can claim free accommodation on eligible listings throughout the two states.
The program, which has been utilised all over the world during different natural disasters, is currently running until January 17 and is relying on residents in the two states to open up their homes to those impacted – anyone residing in the area can list their spare rooms via the Airbnb website.
On Friday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews declared a state of disaster for the first time ever, responding to an “unprecedented risk” from bushfire.
The declaration applies to much of the eastern part of the state, including the East Gippsland shire, Mansfield shire, Wellington shire, Wangaratta rural shire, Towong shire, Alpine shire, Mount Butler, Mount Hotham, and Mount Stirling Alpine Resorts.
“We face unprecedented risk to life and property in coming days,” Andrews said upon announcing the news. “The fires are unprecedented in their size, their scale and the risk they pose to so many people right across affected communities.”
“If you can leave, you must leave — if you don’t we simply cannot guarantee your safety.”
The best way to help, is to donate to one of the causes associated with the bushfires, which we’ve listed below.
Donate to The Australian Red Cross, which has volunteers at evacuation and recovery centres.
Donate to the Salvation Army Australia, which launched a disaster appeal, providing shelter and meals to evacuees and front-line responders.
Donate to St. Vincent de Paul Society Australia, which requesting money to help evacuated families cover bills and rebuild.
To help the hurt and displaced animals, donate to WIRES.