Celebrities Donate to Relief Efforts As Australian Bushfires Continue to Burn
With the help of celebrities — Australian and not — millions of dollars have been raised to help combat the bushfires in Australia.
According to BBC, a major contribution came after Australian comedian Celeste Barber called for donations on Facebook for the NSW Rural Fire Service and the Brigades Donations Fund last week. So far, she has helped raise over $30 million USD (or about $43 million AUD) in what has since become the largest-ever Facebook fundraiser, according to a representative for the company.
“Please help any way you can,” Barber wrote in her plea on Facebook. “This is terrifying."
For its part, Facebook pledged to match up to $1 million AUD (or just over $686,000 USD) in donations made through GlobalGiving’s crisis page or through the donate button on the Facebook newsfeed, as well as to donate $250,000 AUD (or about $171,000 USD) to the Australian Red Cross.
Spreading awareness and raising funds for the fires also became a major part of Sunday's Golden Globe Awards, where many Australian celebrities, including Naomi Watts, paid tribute to their homeland on stage.
Fellow Aussie star Nicole Kidman, who was also present at the award show, reportedly left a pre-award show event early as she was "distracted" by the thought of her home being at risk and was visibly upset on the red carpet.
“I’m so sorry. I’m so distracted right now with everything that’s happening in Australia,” Kidman said, according to Us Weekly.
A representative for the actress told the magazine that “their home is not on fire. It is under threat, so keeping a close eye on it.”
Kidman also joined in the fundraising efforts, writing on Instagram that she was donating $500,000 to the “Rural Fire Services who are all doing and giving so much right now.”
Singer Pink also donated $500,000 “directly to the local fire services that are battling so hard on the frontlines." She added, "My heart goes out to our friends and family in Oz.”
Several celebrities, including Australian actress Margot Robbie, Lizzo (who was touring in Queensland), and Selena Gomez, took to social media to encourage people to donate.
The devastating fires have claimed the lives of at least 24 people since September, destroyed more than 1,500 homes, and killed countless animals, according to reports. Over the weekend, three fires combined to form one big fire larger than the size of Manhattan, CNNreported, covering 23 square miles.
On Saturday, the capital of Canberra hit 44 degrees Celsius (or 111 degrees Fahrenheit), which CNN reported was a record for the city that sits between Sydney and Melbourne. A western suburb of Sydney recorded a temperature of 48.9 degrees Celsius (or 120 degrees Fahrenheit).
According to BBC, the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison called up 3,000 reserve troops.