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Throwing coal on the fire

By New Year’s Day, Australia was on fire. There were more than 200 fires burning across the country, from Western Australia to the east coast states of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Since the start of the fire season, more than ten million hectares of land have been burnt out – an area nearly six times the size of Fiji or New Caledonia.

And from coffee sales to alumni dinners, Pacific islanders have rallied to the assistance of their Australian ‘vuvale’ affected by the bushfires. PNG and Fiji are also sending soldiers to work with the Australian Defence Force on the ground.

The fundraising efforts, from small community-driven initiatives to larger government-coordinated programs, prompted Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to acknowledge the “the loving response from our Pacific family”.

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