Australia has been ravaged by deadly bushfires, which has claimed the lives of dozens of people and over a billion animals1. In response to this tragedy, James Cook University is donating SGD$100,000 to the AustCham Singapore Australian Bushfire Appeal, in support of the relief efforts and the victims affected by the devastating disaster. In Australia, staff have been offered additional volunteering leave if they have been involved in fighting bushfires.
In November 2019, a state of emergency was declared by the Australian government after numerous fires broke out in New South Wales, Australia. As the fires spread across the country, more than 103,000 square kilometres of land was razed2.
The situation worsened in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, as well as in the early days of 2020. This resulted in massive evacuations taking place across severely-impacted regions of southeast Australia, especially when treacherous winds fanned the flames.
Unfortunately, there is no immediate end in sight to these dire conditions. Even at the time of this writing, Australia continues to be affected by poor air quality caused by the smoke from the bushfires. There are also still fires burning, and it is likely that fire activity may increase yet again3.
As such, it is crucial for everyone to rally together to and act in the face of this crisis.
Professor Chris Rudd OBE, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Head of Campus, Singapore at James Cook University, said, “Our hearts go out to those affected by this natural disaster. Our thoughts and well wishes go out to them.”
He added, “We want to help provide support, and to inspire others to do the same.”
1 WWF. Bushfire Emergency. https://www.wwf.org.au/get-involved/bushfire-emergency#gs.tt9kw7
2 Reuters, 2020. Sizing up Australia’s bushfires. https://graphics.reuters.com/AUSTRALIA-BUSHFIRES-SCALE/0100B4VK2PN/index.html
3 The Guardian, 2020. Australia fires: has the rain put out the bushfires and could they flare again? https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/21/australia-fires-has-the-rain-put-out-the-bushfires-and-could-they-flare-again
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