Disaster relief programs and charities are springing into action to help people who have been affected by the devastating bushfires in NSW.
Charities are asking people who want to help NSW bushfire victims to donate cash instead of food or clothing.
How you can help
In a statement, the Salvation Army is asking the Australian public to please donate cash, rather than goods, to their Bushfire Appeal for people affected by fires in NSW.
Salvation Army spokesman Peter Sutcliffe says his organisation often gets inundated with food, clothing and electrical items during bushfire season.
He says donating cash is more helpful as it gives bushfire victims choice over what to purchase.
Annie Harvey, from the Australian Red Cross, agrees money is more useful in times of crises.
"It's too hard to manage warehousing of massive material goods," she said.
- You can donate to the Red Cross Appeal here.
- You can donate to the Salvation Army Appeal here.
- Authorities also strongly encourage anyone distressed by the bushfire situation to take advantage of counselling and support services here.
- A housing website is now helping bushfire victims find temporary, free accommodation.
- Let your family and friends know you are OK by registering with the Red Cross National Registration and Inquiry System (NRIS).
- WIRES - NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue & Education Service's Bushfire Appeal Fund can be found on their website at www.wires.org.au
- Petbarn is also running an appeal in conjunction with the RSPCA to assist rescue and recovery efforts aimed at wildlife, pets and livestock. You can donate to this appeal at all Petbarn stores. The RSPCA is also appealing for online donations to help RSPCA inspectors help animals affected by the bushfires.
- National Animal Rescue Groups of Australia (NARGA) have a database of people willing to provide temporary care to all manner of animals during this crisis. More information on how you can assist or use their services can be found here.
- The Animal Welfare League NSW is also offering emergency shelters for injured and displaced animals in bushfire-affected areas. More information on how you can help can be found here.
- Social media is also providing support. The Firey Formal Dress Exchange has been launched to provide formal dresses, make-up and photography for graduating high school students who have lost everything in the NSW bushfires. Visitors to the page are encouraged to help their "sisters who have lost their formal dress in the fire" and "post a picture of your dress and its size etc. so they can take their pick."
Residents and volunteers have been issued a plea to stay out of fire-damaged areas until they have been deemed safe by authorities.
If you are concerned about the welfare of family and friends, please contact the Police Information Centre on 1800 227 228.
Members of the public should contact their insurance companies if their properties have sustained damage or have been destroyed. The Insurance Council can be contacted on 1800 734 621.
Members of the public in the bushfire-affected areas who need immediate assistance should attend an evacuation centre in their area, or contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.
You can also contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance line if you are uninsured and have sustained loss or damage to your home.
WIRES – NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue & Education Service rescue line for emergency animal rescue is 1300 094 737.