Skip to main content

Comedian’s Facebook followers raise a colossal $30M for Aussie bushfire aid

As devastating bushfires continue to burn across parts of Australia, a comedian from the country decided to call on her social media followers for help. And boy, did they step up.

In the space of just four days, Celeste Barber’s 8.3 million global followers across Facebook and Instagram have so far raised $30 million in a fundraiser for New South Wales’ rural firefighting efforts. That’s mighty impressive for a campaign that launched with a target of just $30,000.

“Want to join me in supporting a good cause?” Barber wrote on her Facebook page at the launch of her campaign over the weekend. “I’m raising money for The Trustee for New South Wales Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donations Fund and your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate a lot or a little. Anything helps. Thank you for your support.”

Barber indicated that some of the money would go toward buying protective masks for volunteer firefighters. Writing on Twitter, the comedian said the masks would “change the lives of firefighters forever because they wouldn’t be exposed to cancer-causing carcinogens that they are currently exposed to due to the negligence of the state government.”

Indeed, many Australian politicians have been criticized for what’s been seen as an inadequate response to the out-of-control bushfires.

In the last three months, the ongoing blazes have killed 24 people and destroyed more than 1,200 homes across New South Wales, where around 140 separate fires are burning, and neighboring Victoria, where 31 fires are currently burning.

The hot, dry weather during what is currently the Australian summer means the fires could go on burning for several more months.

In a bid to help those affected by the disaster, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who himself recently came under fire for going on vacation to Hawaii as the crisis worsened, last weekend announced a plan for a new National Bushfire Recovery Agency aimed at coordinating a national response to rebuild the communities and livelihoods hit by the bushfires.

Keep on pushing

Barber’s fundraising campaign is continuing to pull in cash from kindhearted folks around the world.

In a video on her Facebook page, the comedian said: “So many people need help I can’t wrap my head around it … so much wildlife, it’s absolutely devastating.”

She added: “I’m going to keep pushing. I think we get as much as we can. I mean, we’ve already got so much but we have to help people completely rebuild their lives.”

With way more money coming in than expected, Barber said she planned to talk with the Rural Fire Service & Brigades this week about how the funds can be most effectively used, and promised to post an update once she has more information.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Twitter to impose dark mode as it’s ‘better in every way,’ Elon Musk says
A white X on a black background, which could be Twitter's new logo.

If you tend to use Twitter in light mode, then prepare for things to change.

The microblogging platform, which is in the process of rebranding to “X” under the orders of new owner Elon Musk, looks set to ditch light mode, leaving you with only one: dark.

Read more
WhatsApp now lets you add short video messages to chats
WhatsApp logo on a phone.

You can now send short video messages in a WhatsApp chat, Meta announced on Thursday.

A video message can last for up to 60 seconds long and is protected with end-to-end encryption.

Read more
Musk shows off new X sign on top of San Francisco HQ, but the city’s not happy
The new X sign replacing the Twitter logo on the company's headquarters in San Francisco.

Soon after Elon Musk tweeted a drone video showing a new white light in the shape of an X atop the company’s headquarters in San Francisco on Friday, the Associated Press (AP) reported that the city had decided to launch in investigation over concerns that the sign's installation may have broken rules.

The X logo is replacing the iconic Twitter bird as Musk continues efforts to rebrand the social media platform that he acquired in October.

Read more