MANILA, Philippines – Catastrophic bushfires have destroyed swaths of Australia since September 2019, burning land roughly double the size of Belgium and causing thousands to flee from their homes.
Aside from extensive damage to homes and communities, ecologists fear that months of deadly bushfires may have also pushed several species to extinction, with millions of animals burned in the fires.
At least 24 people have been killed by the raging bushfires in Australia.
Hoping to lend a hand, several Filipino-Australian communities are leading relief drives to help those affected by the deadly bushfires.
Subtle Filipino Traits (SFT) in partnership with Gawad Kalinga Australia and Council of Australian-Filipino Organizations of Victoria (CAFOVI) are appealing for help to provide relief to bushfire victims in East Gippsland and Victoria.
SFT is a Facebook community that brings together Filipinos from all over the world and provides an avenue for them to celebrate their identity.
Highlighting the need for bayanihan (community spirit), SFT called for volunteers who can help in packaging relief goods. Those interested to volunteer may contact the following team leaders found in three areas:
- For Maidstone: Carina – 0431 905 044
- For Ravenhall: Jannine (SFT admin) – message SFT or Jannine directly on facebook
- For Springvale: Jessa – 0401 219 979
They also accept donations of water and toiletries such as toilet paper, soap, shampoo, paper towels, and women’s sanitary products. Rubbish bags, used plastic bags, recyclable shopping bags and coloring books and pencils for children in evacuation centers are also accepted.
These items may be dropped off in the following centers:
- Hoppers Crossing: 90 Barber Drive (c/o Cecile)
- January 5 to 10 only, 5pm-9pm
- Ravenhall: Urban Nation Dance Studio, 19/39 Eucumbene Drive c/o Liz Honey
- Monday–Friday, 5.00pm -7.00pm only
- Maidstone: Talyer Auto Highpoint 8/61 Wattle Road, 8.00am till 5.00pm (Look for Vera)
- Monday – Friday
- Springvale: Phone Jessa (0401 219 979) for drop-off bookings
- Cranbourne East: Phone Ailane (0475 787 930) for drop-off bookings
- East St. Kilda: 54 Westbury St. Phone Tony (0431 737 536) for drop-off bookings.
According to the Philippine Times, Gawad Kalinga Australia is also accepting cash donations which will be used to buy and distribute food and basic necessities.
Cash donations may be deposited to the following account:
National Australia Bank
BSB number: 083 004
Account number: 74 477 1799
Account name: Gawad Kalinga Australia
Interested donors are instructed to use their surname as reference.
Filipino Community Council of Victoria Incorporated
The Filipino Community Council of Victoria Incorporated (FCCVI) is calling for donations–in cash or in kind – as well as volunteers to help in emergency relief operations for Filipino communities affected by the bushfires.
Cash donations can be deposited directly to the FCCVI charity account:
BSB number: 063-253
Account number: 1098 4645
Account name: FCCVI Charity Account
In-kind donations such as ready-to-eat meal packs, cereals, rice, water, milk, toiletries are accepted at the following drop off points:
- Philippine House– 93 Cowper St. Footscray Vic. 3011 from 10am to 5pm.
- For Clayton, Clarinda and neighbouring suburbs drop-off point is at 25 Newcombe Court, Clarinda Vic. 3169
- For South Eastern Suburbs, please message Lisa Aquino Di Blasio for pick-up or drop-off arrangement
- For Western Gippsland– contact Samahang ng mga Pilipino sa Gippsland (SPAG), 17 Davey Street Morwell Vic. 3840
For inquiries, people may send a text message to 0413267448. – Rappler.com
Do you know of other initiatives led by Filipino-Australian communities to help those affected by the Australian bushfires? Tag @MovePH on Twitter and use the hastag #ReliefPH. You may also send a message to MovePH on Facebook and Twitter.