As Australia continues to be ravaged by devastating bushfires, various philanthropists have pledged money to help the country out with its relief efforts. But few if any have managed to match the number put forward by Australia's own mining billionaire Andrew Forrest, who along with wife Nicola Forrest has announced a pledge of almost $50 million US to bushfire relief efforts through their Minderoo Foundation.
The donation comes to 70 million Australian dollars, breaking down to $10 million AU to mobilize volunteers, $10 million AU towards immediate fire relief, and a $50 million AU "investment to support the development of a long-term blueprint for fire resilience," per the foundation's official press release.
Forrest himself is quoted in the release too, speaking of how the pledge is simply another example of Australians coming together in a crisis:
"With incredible courage and determination, Australians have united to help those devastated by these bushfires. We can all be proud of the efforts we have witnessed across the country to support those fighting the bushfires, those affected by them, and those seeking to provide support to people and wildlife. We extend our deepest sympathy and hope to all those affected.
"At Minderoo Foundation, we want to provide immediate relief because, like so many other West Australians, we mourn the hardships of our fellow countrymen and women. We recognise that we don't have all the answers, but we want to understand what communities need and do our bit to help them now and as they regroup in the coming months."
Nicola Forrest also chimed in:
"In the weeks and months ahead, people directly impacted by these fires will need both practical and emotional support. They will need time to grieve their loss and to deal with the trauma of the experience and they will need practical help to start the process of rebuilding their lives. While rubble that was once someone's home might now be unrecognisable, it is still home.
"Beneath the ash, memories still exist, and these should be treasured. We hope Minderoo Foundation's contribution will complement existing efforts, provide hope to those hurting and encourage others to help in any way they can – big or small."
As of this writing, the fires in Australia have claimed the lives of at least 25 people and an estimated 1 billion animals.