“The background din of sadness drones loudest when the air in Canberra is safe to breathe. The first two weeks of 2020 have been a pendulum swing between fighting and fleeing from smoke, and a near-perfect likeness of the idyllic life we had before fire season. With the sadness, there is also relief on the good days and hope that the worst is over. And then the city is blanketed in smoke again. We see it. We smell it. This fog of death, loss, terror, and suffering stretching for miles in every direction. How long will it stay this time? And beneath it all, another uncertainty: What is all this smoke doing to my children?” This quote from Eric Byler, a writer for Australia’s ‘The Intercept’, shows the real impact of what is going on in the horrible natural disaster that has taken out more than eight thousand buildings and an estimated one billion wild animals.
The spread of the Australian wildfires have devastated an unfathomable amount of land, animals and people. The people of Australia are left without homes, work or food and have been forced to camp out in cars, tents, or trailers. Major cities have been cleared out because of the blaze, and major portions of infrastructure has been wiped out. The slow return to home is marked by poor air conditions and fear of fire returning to the cities.
But just how much area has really been destroyed? The former question is easiest to understand as 100,000 square kilometers. If placed on a map of Canada, these fires would engulf an area including the entirety of Hamilton, Toronto, all the way up to North Bay, the entirety of Algonquin Park, and all the way across past Ottawa. When put in these terms, it can become easier to understand the number of people that have been displaced, the amount of sheer space that these fires have taken up, and the amount of wildlife and trees burned.
And what could we possibly do to help against such a powerful disaster? Australia is in need of water and food resources and they attempt to keep people alive and refreshed, as well as returning people to their homes. There are several organizations with boots on the ground, including the Australian Red Cross and Salvation Army, both of whom are working to provide food and necessities for displaced citizens and people in need. Prayers and support for the people of Australia are continually important and valued!