While the fires in Australia seem to finally be getting under control, the work is far from over and the effects will be felt for years if not decades to come. There are several ways to help from Prague, either by attending events or donating directly. The Czech Australian New Zealand Association (CANZA) and Prague Zoo both are raising money, among others.
CANZA is organizing an event called Australia-Waitangi Day on January 25 at 7 pm at the Down Under at Vinohradská 48. The event will raise money for the wildlife charity for WIRES, which specifically assists small animal shelters around New South Wales (NSW), which was the hardest of the states hit. There will be an auction and raffle, as well as Australian cuisine and beverages, and entertainment. WIRES is short for Wildlife Rescue.
“The areas most affected were to the north, west and south of Sydney — we were virtually surrounded by mega fires, some of which have been burning since October. The Far South Coast of NSW was particularly bad, this is where the images of people taking shelter on the beaches and in boats on the ocean were taken, also affected were the northern parts of Victoria,” CANZA President Larissa Petryca said.
“Our capital cities are empty after Christmas, and families populate the north and south coasts for beach side vacations, so many, many people were affected including myself. My parents have a house in the Australian Alps and we were evacuated on 4 January. The two worst days were 31 December to 1 January (basically New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day people were fighting for their houses and taking shelter on the beaches) and also 4 January when the fires spread due to high temperatures and high winds,” she added.
“Kangaroo Island off the South Australian coast transpired into another devastating crisis, half the island was burnt along with the loss of 1/3 to 1/2 the koala population. This is a disease-free island with many native animals including koala’s free of a disease that has killed so many of the mainland koalas to the point of near extinction. This is another reason why national parks free of introduced species are so critical to native animals survival,” she said.
People can also donate money directly to CANZA with the note “Wires donation” to:
Bank: Česká spořitelna
Account number: 00000-1968356329 / 0800
Lelí’s Cupcakes at Vyšehradská 53, just off of Karlovo náměstí, is also raising money for Wires by selling koala-shaped cupcakes until the end of January. The entire 50 CZK for each cupcake will go to the charity,
There will also be a benefit concert on February 16 at Divadlo Semafor to benefit Waminda, an Indigenous Aboriginal health and community center on the South Coast. The concert features didgeridoo player Ondřej Smeykal and Tata Bojs drummer Milan Cais.
In early January the Aboriginal community of Mogo was destroyed by fires, including the Mogo Aboriginal Land Council building. There has hardly been any press coverage about Mogo and the other Aboriginal communities that have been badly affected.
Waminda is a grass-roots charity run directly by the local Aboriginal community, and the money will go directly to the community and their immediate needs. The group has so far we have taken three truck loads full of tents, gas cookers, packaged food, toiletries, nappies, formula, and water in to the communities. They are having daily conversations with the elders asking what they actually need, and then try to provide it.
Waminda’s bank details are:
SWIFT code: BENDAU3B
Account No: 153305842
There is also an acoustic concert on January 23 at Brix Bar & Hostel in Prague’s Žižkov district. Six acts are scheduled to perform, starting at 7 pm. Money will go toward fighting fires.
Prague Zoo is also continuing to raise money for protecting wildlife in Australia. As of January 20, they have collected 6.2 million CZK. The money will go to help zoos in Australia protect native wildlife.
The zoo has set up a special account to accept donations:
IBAN: CZ24 0100 0000 4368 0466 0247
SWIFT code (bank identifier code): KOMBCZPPXXX
Variable symbol: 12020
Comment for recipient: Australia