Australians and people around the world have watched in horror as the recent bushfire crisis unfolded. Communities right across Australia have been impacted, with more than 10 million hectares burned, thousands of homes damaged, wildlife injured or killed and 27 lives tragically lost to date. Our thoughts are with all those suffering.
Throughout the bushfire crisis, Australians have searched for updates on fire conditions near them, as well as safety information. In 2019, “fires near me” was the highest Search query in Australia, highlighting the demand for accurate and timely information. We’ve provided support to help ensure people can access information from fire and emergency services authorities when they need it most.
In December, we announced Google staff in Australia had led a fundraising effort for the Australian Red Cross for bushfire relief. This campaign with staff donations, matched contributions and a grant from Google’s charitable arm Google.org has raised more than $3 million (AUD) to date for the Australian Red Cross, WWF and bushfire response and long-term recovery efforts. We hope this can play some part in helping affected communities.
More immediately, we’ve worked with Infoxchange to add a bushfire services section to the Ask Izzy website, which lists over 370,000 support services across Australia to connect people with help in times of need.
Australians are renowned for helping each other in times of need and our thoughts are with everyone impacted and those still at risk.
In coming months we will offer Grow with Google digital skills training for small businesses in impacted communities to help them get back on their feet and connect with customers. Our first free training for small businesses and nonprofits will be in Shellharbour on 10 March 2020.
More details to come about the training available near you. And stay tuned for updates as we continue to work with fire and emergency services to connect Australians with information when they need it most.