Bushfires have created havoc in Australia since August 2019 with no end in sight. The raging fires have impacted New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, and show no sign of slowing down. At least 17 people, including citizens and firefighters, have died while millions of animals have been killed in the fires, which have caused destruction on over 19,300 square miles of land. Many people have been forced to abandon their homes. Australian authorities have now made a final plea to residents to escape from the affected areas as extreme conditions are being predicted in the near future, which might mean that firefighters will no longer be able to save entire towns.
The authorities in New South Wales have asked people to quickly vacate a 14,000 square kilometres area in the south coast, along with other areas in Snowy Valley. In Victoria, around 28 people have gone missing in the East Gippsland region and the authorities have sent out text messages to 25,000 people asking them to evacuate. According to the authorities, around 3.5 percent of the landmass in Victoria has been impacted by the bushfire.
Residents in surrounding areas are wearing ventilation marks outdoors in order to avoid the impact of the toxic cloud of smoke in the air. The 2019–2020 Australian bushfire season has also resulted in 4,300 insurance claims amounting to $297 million till date. They have cost the tourism industry hundreds of millions of dollars as images and news of the fires in the international media are keeping many visitors away, according to the Australian Tourism Industry Council.
Volunteer firefighters have been trying to help defend people and property from the bushfires. People from all over the world are responding to the emergency situation by donating to Australian Red Cross, Salvation Army Australia, St. Vincent de Paul Society Australia and New South Wales Rural Fire Service. To save wildlife, koalas in particular, people are sending funds via GoFundMe accounts set up for Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and Currumbin Wildlife Hospital.
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