Travel Alert January 2020: Australia Wildfires and How You Can Help — Including Donating for Photographs of a Naked Woman

With record heat and 147 wildfires burning in the state of New South Wales alone, almost every state in Australia is experiencing the worst fire season in decades during the hottest and driest year on record. At least 27 people have been killed; almost 2,100 homes have been destroyed; and as many as one billion animals may have already succumbed to the wildfires — and those are only two of the many statistics which fail to paint a remotely accurate picture of the devastation that country is experiencing.

Travel Alert January 2020: Australia Wildfires and How You Can Help — Including Donating for Photographs of a Naked Woman

Volunteer firefighters from around the world — including those as far away as the United States — have descended upon Australia to fight the bushfires which have ravaged at least 17.9 million acres of the landscape, which is larger than the state of West Virginia.

Although hundreds of koalas — many of them dehydrated — have been saved by dogs, the beloved marsupial is “heading towards extinction in New South Wales and southeast Queensland as early as 2050,” according to the World Wildlife Fund. “Will you help launch a critical and bold plan to save them, before it’s too late?”

The good news is that greater than 24,000 buildings have been saved, according to this message which was posted at the official Twitter account of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service:

How You Can Help

Along with donations, the Australian Red Cross is also seeking volunteers., as the organization has already assisted thousands of evacuated Australians — including those in recovery centers.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service and the Country Fire Authority in Victoria are both services which receive donations to help manage local firefighting efforts and provide accommodations for displaced residents — and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service also has a specific fund set up for people to assist the families of firefighters who have been killed by the wildfires.

A number of groups are also accepting donations to help the wildlife rescue and recovery efforts. Wires is an Australian-based wildlife rescue group relying on the help of volunteers and donations, which can be made through its website. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New South Wales, which has helped spearhead animal evacuation and rescue efforts, is also accepting donations and crucial items, such as blankets and towels to keep animals warm.

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and the World Wildlife Fund Australia have led the way in assisting the rescue efforts of koalas throughout the disaster. The Koala Hospital has rescued dozens of koalas since October and raised over $4 million from nearly 33,000 people around the world through a GoFundMe page. The WWF-Australia has set up a specific koala-focused donation drive for the country, spreading awareness of the destroyed habitats and urging people to help.

As an incentive, Kaylen Ward — who is known as The Naked Philanthropist — promises to send nude photographs to every person who donates a minimum of ten dollars to any one of the fundraisers listed for the wildfires in Australia; and greater than one million dollars has already been raised as a result.

Let’s face it — sex sells.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to areas of Australia which are affected by wildfires, expect delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to the wildfires which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. If you are driving in any of these areas, watch out for deteriorating weather conditions due to thick smoke and traffic problems — including road closures.

Here are four airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of the wildfires:

  • American Airlines has issued a travel alert for Sydney for Thursday, January 9, 2020 through Friday, January 10, 2020; and Thursday, January 23, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Delta Air Lines has issued a travel alert for Sydney for Thursday, January 9, 2020 through Sunday, January 12, 2020; and Wednesday, January 15, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • United Airlines has issued travel alerts for Melbourne and Sydney for Friday, January 10, 2020 through Sunday, January 12, 2020; and Friday, January 17, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has issued a travel alert for Sydney for Thursday, January 9, 2020 through Sunday, January 12, 2020; and Wednesday, January 15, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.

Summary

Interestingly, Qantas Airways has not issued any travel waivers at this time — that can change at any time — but because of the voraciousness of the wildfires as they devour millions of acres of Australia, do not be surprised if not only the aforementioned travel waivers are extended; but also new travel waivers could be issued by more airlines.

You can help people who are adversely affected by the wildfires through reputable charitable organizations.

Be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

Source: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States.

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