For months now, Australia has been burning before the eyes of the world. Thousands of acres of land have been scorched, dozens of people are dead, thousands more are homeless and over half a billion animals have died. So why is so little been done in terms of helping a nation in peril?
Let’s look back to last year. Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire and within days millions of pounds of aid money had been raised. This was a church, albeit a proudly historic and famous one, but a church nevertheless. No one had died, yet a nation mourned.
In Australia, regular, hard working people have lost their homes and been pushed to the brink. Their Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has been far from the compassionate leader which Australia has needed. He was late returning from a holiday in Hawaii and when he did touch back down in Australia, he was heckled by those he visited. Prime Minister Morrison was told he was not welcome in Cobargo, New South Wales, where two people lost their lives in the bush fires. In response, the PM said he was “not surprised people are feeling very raw.”
Poor leadership aside, the wealthy of the world is guilty of standing by and sending nothing more that ‘thoughts and prayers.’ On January 3rd, Kendall Jenner tweeted a video of bush fires ravaging the country with emojis. It would have been better for her to have left it alone, or at least donate some money towards the cause. In her defence, she may have done so, but to be honest I think she’s the sort of person to let the world know when she donates. To be honest this isn’t her fault, it’s the overly rich and out of touch world which she has been brought up in.
Many parts of Australia which is burning is defended by volunteer fire fighters, most of which will not have been prepared for anything on this scale. These people are on the front line daily and are risking their lives, with some paying the ultimate price. Rising temperatures and a lack of rainfall and resources has turned Australia into a tinderbox.
Why haven’t the Australian fires received the attention or final support to that of Notre Dame? There are probably a few reasons, one being the fact that the latter is a religious landmark. The cathedral was always going to be gradually restored, after the structure was saved from the flames. An almost unfathomable area of land has burned to a crisp, taking with it people, animals and homes.
Another reason could be a denial from certain world leaders that the bush fires are related to global warming. Any excuse that the fires always happen at this time of year need to be dispatched immediately. Australia has never burned to this extent before, but perhaps donating money and resources to a country struggling is too much of an acceptance that the planet is in desperate need of help?
Videos have emerged of people forced onto beaches to escape the flames and of hundreds of animals which have been burned to death trying to flee. One image of a cars alloy wheel trims melted away would not have looked out of place in a dystopian horror film. What is happening in Australia should be deeply concerning to the world, yet the world continues to effectively stand by and watch a nation burn.