US firefighters were greeted with loud cheering and clapping as they landed in Sydney, Australia, to assist the country’s firemen and firewomen in the battle against the bushfire crisis.
As the US officials confirmed, additional 100 firefighters in total have been dispatched to provide support and join the other 159 volunteers who were already in Australia.
“As they came through the arrival gate, those gathered gave a spontaneous and lengthy round of applause, reflecting the gratitude and admiration we all have for their generosity and assistance,” New South Wales RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons expressed, speaking of the landing that involved 20 seasoned firefighters.
“I’m not really worried, I think we’re well trained … We’ve got to learn from your local people in how we can do business and fit in with your system,” one of the firefighters, John Szulc, said in an interview with ABC News.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the twenty firefighters who landed on Monday, January 6, flew to replace an active crew that had been battling the blaze since December.
“They’re there to work with Australia in any capacity needed,” NIFC spokesperson Carrie Bilbao said.
“As the extreme fire danger continues across Australia, the Department of the Interior will continue to do all that we can to support requests for assistance,” Craig Leff of the Interior Department’s Wildland Fire added.
The generous help comes as dozens of celebrities and prominent figures have joined the cause and made remarkable contributions towards firefighters tackling Australia’s worst-ever bushfire crisis.
Some of the well-known figures that made, or pledged, massive donations include James Packer, Chris Hemsworth, Kylie Jenner, Justin Hemmes, Kylie Minogue, Nicole Kidman, band Metallica, Russell Crowe, Dacre Montgomery, Rebel Wilson, Elton John, and Pink.
As for the comedian Celeste Barber, she has managed to raise over $33 million via her global Facebook fundraiser.
The most sizeable donation of them all was made by a mining mogul and billionaire Andrew Forrest who has pledged a whopping $70 million towards the recovery from the Australian bushfire crisis and prevention of similar incidents in the future.
As the businessman explained, $50 million of the donation will go towards plans and strategies that will help Australia “avoid a tragedy striking to this extent ever again.”
Another $20 million will be directed at emaciated communities and the residents most affected by the crisis, whereas $10 million will contribute to providing immediate relief with the help of the Salvation Army and the Australian Red Cross.
“With incredible courage and determination, Australians have united to help those devastated by these bushfires. We recognize that we don’t have all the answers, but we want to understand what communities need and do our bit to help them,” Andrew Forrest told the reporters.
“We are putting $50 million on the table to create resilience in order to encourage other companies and philanthropists from Australia and around the world to build a resilient Australia so we might avoid a tragedy striking to this extent ever again.”
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