The 2019-20 Australian bushfires were unprecedented. Ripping through 17 millions of hectares of bush, many families were displaced and properties damaged or destroyed. Farmers and regional communities across the country are still feeling the impact, as they struggle to rebuild fences, care for livestock and get their lives back on track. To help provide some relief, Amazon Australia has teamed up with Drought Angels, a passionate and dedicated nonprofit that supports farmers and regional communities impacted by natural disasters.

Together, we will provide 500 fire-affected families across the country with hampers packed full of essentials and treats. Families will be able to personalize their own hampers based on their unique needs.

“We are so excited to partner with Amazon Australia to help ‘deliver smiles’ to families that were hit hard by the fires,” said Natasha Johnston, Co-Founding Director of Drought Angels. “Many of our farmers were already doing it tough from the drought, the fires just made everything worse. Being able to provide for them on this scale is absolutely incredible and heart-warming.”

The partnership with Drought Angels is part of Amazon Australia’s ongoing commitment to supporting local communities. Using Amazon’s unique logistics and technical capabilities, and along with cash donations, we are proud to support our community partners on the front line of disaster relief efforts, which this year has included Foodbank, the Australian Red Cross, Blaze Aid, the Salvation Army Australia, WIRES, Rural and Country Fire Services, and The Smith Family, among others. Learn more about how we have supported communities affected by the bushfires and COVID-19.

About Amazon Australia Disaster Relief

Amazon Australia is committed to supporting communities impacted by natural disasters including drought, fire and flood. During the devastating bushfires that swept the nation earlier this year, Amazon Australia supported national relief efforts including donating much needed items to organisations on the front line. We fulfilled charity Wish Lists and provided cash donations to relief agencies including the Australian Red Cross, the Salvation Army Australia, WIRES, and Rural and Country Fire Services around the country.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) provided in-kind technical support for many of the government agencies dealing with the response and recovery efforts including Geoscience and Digital Earth Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology, and state agencies such as Land Gate (WA), the Rural Fire Service (NSW), Fires Near Me app, SAFECOM (SA), and the South Australian Department Planning, Transport, and Infrastructure.

You can read more about Drought Angels here.

Maria’s Story (Adelong NSW)

Amazon Australia and Drought Angels Deliver Smiles to Bushfire Impacted Farmer

During the horrific fires, Maria lost approximately 208 head of cattle including 75% of her stud heifers, her main source of income. The cattle that did not perish in the fire had to be euthanised. Maria also lost in excess of 146km of fence line. Over 2950 acres of Maria’s grazing country was decimated, leaving just 50 acres to confine and feed 750 cattle directly after the disaster hit.

Maria’s 14-year-old-son, Aiden, is an inspiration. He has continued to muster cattle and fight the fire despite being quite badly injured. Maria’s elderly mother, Elizabeth, had a fall whilst defending the home and had to be taken to hospital.

Maria, Elizabeth and Aiden managed to save their home. Whilst the roof suffered damage, they were able to save the house from being burnt down. The cattle yards were welded solid from the sheer heat of the fire storm. All the troughs, tanks and dams were contaminated from the ash and fire.

“The fires were tough. We were fighting to save our home around the clock. Most nights we wouldn’t get a chance to eat dinner until 1am. But we survived, which makes every day even sweeter” Maria Roache, Adelong NSW.

Amazon Australia is helping Maria to get back on her feet.

When we asked Maria what she needed her only request was a replacement of her favorite pocket knife that was lost in the fire. After getting to know her a little better, we decided to donate a few more items. Maria received equipment for her farm including drone and laptop, towels, books and electronic games for her son, cooking supplies for her mother, and supplies for the beloved family dog.