The bushfires are blazing all across Australia right now. More than 150 fires continue to burn across NSW. Authorities had issued emergency alerts for 10 of those bushfires, down from 13 earlier in the evening. Of most concern are fires burning on the NSW South Coast, including near Nowra and Eden.In Victoria, about 50 fires continue to burn, mostly in the state's north-east and alpine area.
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has confirmed two more people died on Saturday, pushing the death toll up to 23, and has called up around 3,000 army reservists to help battle the fires. Mr Morrison told a news conference: "We are facing another extremely difficult next 24 hours.
"In recent times, particularly over the course of the balance of this week, we have seen this disaster escalate to an entirely new level."
Australian worship leader Darlene Zschech calls upon all Christians to pray for Australia. "Hey global family... us Aussies need your prayers for rain, for our firefighters, for the thousands of people displaced, for the growing number of people that have lost loved ones and all they own... we have never seen fires like this.. "
Zschech continues: "Praying for and super proud of all of our firefighters... whether they are paid or unpaid, they are living selflessly and tirelessly to protect fellow Aussies right now. ThankYou doesn't even come close to how grateful our hearts are for you all."
Hillsong's current worship director Brooke Ligertwood also invites us to pray for the firefighters. "Can't comprehend the conditions these incredible firefighters have been working in for weeks on end now, with hundreds of fires blazing across Australia amidst continuous hottest-day-on-record setting temperatures. Gobsmacking courage and stamina. So sad for all those who've lost property and worse."
Meanwhile, other Aussies including Keith Urban and wife Nicole Kidman are giving $500,000 to support firefighters in their battle against Australia's devastating wildfires. "Our family's support, thoughts, and prayers are with everyone affected by the fires all over Australia. We are donating $500,000 to the Rural Fire Services who are all doing and giving so much right now," Urban and Kidman both posted on social media Saturday night (Jan. 4).
Likewise, pop songstress Pink has opened her wallet to help the victims of the bushfires. "I am totally devastated watching what is happening in Australia right now with the horrific bushfires. I am pledging a donation of $500,000 directly to the local fire services that are battling so hard on the frontlines. My heart goes out to our friends and family in Oz."
The Salvation Army has launched a disaster appeal to help support evacuees and emergency services during the current crisis. Salvation Army teams are currently active at roughly a dozen evacuation centres where, among other things, they are providing meals to evacuees and firefighters. Relief teams are also providing food and water and emotional and practical support. The Salvation Army has warned recovery will be a long and difficult process.
"We know from experience many of those displaced by the fires are going to need us for many months or years ahead," Salvation Army spokesman Major Bruce Harmer said. "We are committed to standing alongside these communities for as long as it takes to get them back on their feet."
You can donate to the Salvation Army's disaster appeal at this link.