Revolut helps charities tackle Australian bushfires
Revolut, one of the biggest digital banks in the world, has launched an easy way to send help down under as Australia continues to struggle in the grip of an unprecedented nationwide bushfire emergency. Selectra brings you the details below.
How do I donate with Revolut?
Revolut is a digital bank and app that offers a host of features such as near-instant money transfers, digital lending and currency exchange.
The five-year-old startup claims to have 10 million customers around the world and has processed over 350 million transactions with a total value of more than £40bn.
The bank is enabling customers to quickly and easily donate funds to the Australian Red Cross and WWF to help survivors of the country’s “Black Summer”.
One-off or recurring donations can be made to the Red Cross and WWF using the Revolut app’s “Donations” feature.
Customers can also opt to round-up their card payments, for example from £9.55 to £10, and give the extra pennies to one or both of the charities.
The Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund and the WWF's Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund will receive 100% of the donations as Revolut will charge no fees to process the payments.
There is no minimum amount that can be donated and any recurring donations can be cancelled whenever you want.
UK customers can donate to the British Red Cross which will pass the funds on to its Australian counterpart.
On your Revolut app go to “Dashboard” then tap on “Donations” followed by a tap on “British Red Cross”.
For the WWF, tap on “Dashboard”, then “Donations”, then “WWF”.
Why does Australia need help?
Since September, at least 33 people have been killed by bushfires, including volunteer firefighters.
With almost 6,000 buildings and over 11 million hectares of land consumed by the devastating fires, thousands of families have been left homeless and many farms and businesses have been destroyed.
An estimated minimum of one and a quarter billion mammals, birds and reptiles, such as unique and endangered species like koalas, quokkas and platypuses, have been burned alive or asphyxiated by smoke.
Many others have been left injured and, with their habitats destroyed, starving or dying of thirst.
Revolut’s global head of legal, Tom Hambrett, is himself Australian. The lawyer said the support from the team at Revolut “has been really appreciated.”
“I am confident that our global community of generous customers will appreciate the opportunity to donate and support those affected by these catastrophic fires,” he said.
Why have the fires been so destructive?
The country suffers bush fires every year, but record-breaking temperatures along with an extreme drought have contributed to the unprecedented severity of the disaster in progress.
The ACT, where the nation’s capital is located, has declared its first state of emergency since 2003. The ACT has already lost 20% of its land to the fires.
While all Australian states and territories have been hit by bushfires, the Eastern states of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria have suffered the most.
The equivalent of more than half of the country’s annual carbon dioxide emissions has already been released by the fires. Nasa estimates that blazes in New South Wales and Queensland have added around 306 million tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere since August.
Smoke from the fires has stretched 12,000km across the Pacific Ocean and reached South America.
With ever-more extreme weather events and natural disasters occurring year after year, it's a temptation to make a direct link to climate change.
However, it’s important to be rigorous in remembering that such phenomena are exacerbated by climate change, but not directly caused by it.
As the WWF’s chief wildlife adviser Paul De Ornellas says, “while climate change does not cause bushfires, it does make them worse and more likely.”
“The intensive heatwaves and extreme droughts of the past year have fanned the flames creating this state of emergency,” he said.
“We must all do our bit to protect our world from climate disaster – failure to act will make extreme events standard, with deadly consequences for people and nature.”
How will the donations be spent?
The Red Cross will provide AU$20,000 to people who have lost their homes, survivors of the fire who have been hospitalized due to their injuries will get AU$7,500 and $5,000 is made available to help repair badly damaged homes.
On top of this, the charity is supplying communities with food, water and emergency accommodation.
Counselling, helping people locate missing friends and family and other vital services will also be funded in part thanks to donations from Revolut customers.
Belinda Dimovski, head of engagement and support at Australian Red Cross, said the size and scale of the fires in many parts of Australia was “unprecedented.”
“The funds we raise will ensure our trained staff and volunteers can continue to be there for the long-haul, helping people take a deep breath, take stock of their losses, and slowly but surely get back on their feet,” she said.
“We’ll also be giving out emergency grants to help people cover essential costs as they start to rebuild. We’d like to thank Revolut and their customers for leading this incredible initiative and showing such generosity to our emergency teams and the people we help.”
Donations to the WWF will be used to locate and rescue injured and orphaned animals, provide veterinary care and to pay for food and water to keep them alive.
Once the situation has stabilized, remaining funds will go towards restoring the habitats that have been lost and to work towards minimizing such risks of devastation in the future, including tackling climate change.
The WWF’s Paul De Ornellas, echoed Ms Dimovski saying the scale of the crisis had been “described as unprecedented.”
“Human lives and homes have been lost, and wildlife is suffering too,” he said.
“Once the fires clear, we will need to work to restore what has been lost.”
The Revolut community recently raised £197,000 in donations for Save the Children to use on rebuilding schools in Mozambique damaged by Cyclone Idai in 2019.
Click here for Selectra’s review of Revolut’s products and services.