Australia is witnessing its most deadliest bush fires till date, that have rendered thousands of people homeless and at least 25 people have lost their lives, since September. These bush fires that have burnt up to 6.3 million hectares of land, have been fueled by record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought. The southern and eastern part of the country have been worst affected killing half a billion animals in North South Wales alone. New Zealand, which is just over a thousand miles from Australia’s southeast coast, has also been affected.
What’s causing this?
This year a natural weather phenomenon known as the Indian Ocean Dipole has affected the climate leaving a hot, dry spell across the country. Scientists have long warned that this hot, dry climate will contribute to fires becoming more frequent and more intense. The more extreme weather patterns and higher temperatures increase the risk of bush fires and allow them to spread faster and wider.
It has reportedly rained along the east coast with some parts of New South Wales experiencing torrential rain, bringing a little relief to the region but the temperatures are expected to rise again by Friday, which might create a mega blaze. Firefighters are using milder weather to boost containment lines around fires engulfing south-eastern Australia.
How is Australia coping with it?
On Monday, after warning the crisis might go on for months, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said A$ 2bn would be committed to recovery over the next two years, considering the crisis might go on for months. He announced the creation of a recovery agency to help those who have lost homes and businesses in the fires.
The US, Canada and New Zealand have sent firefighters to help the country in crisis while donations are pouring in from all over the world. Support has been offered by Australia’s neighbouring countries Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea too.
A fundraiser launched by comedian Celeste Barber for fire services in NSW raised more than A$35m in just 48 hours and Australian actor Chris Hemsworth donated $1m to support firefighting efforts.
Singer Elton John closed a concert in Sydney on Tuesday by announcing he too would donate $1m for the recovery efforts while other celebrities who donated include US singer Pink, and Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman, who pledged $500,000 each, along with pop star Kylie Minogue and her family who donated $500,000 towards the immediate firefighting efforts.
We really hope that Australia soon recovers through this global catastrophe that they are going through. Our prayers are with you, Australia.