As raging wildfires continue to devastate Australia with at least 24 people dead, more than 1,500 homes destroyed and an estimated half-billion animals killed, a host of celebrities are donating to the nation's fire services and helping to mobilize wide support among their million of social-media followers.
Oscar winner Nicole Kidman and her husband, country-music star Keith Urban, donated a half-million dollars and posted links to Australian fire services for others wishing to help. "Our family's support, thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the fires all over Australia," each posted on Instagram Saturday. "We are donating $500,000 to the Rural Fire Services who are all doing and giving so much right now." Kidman, 52, born in Hawaii, and Urban, also 52, born in Tasmania, both were raised in Australia.
Singer Pink posted similar links on Instagram Saturday and made the same donation. "I am totally devastated watching what is happening in Australia right now with the horrific bush fires," the Pennsylvania native, 40, wrote on Instagram. "I am pledging a donation of $500,000 directly to the local fire services that are battling so hard on the front lines. My heart goes out to our friends and family in Oz."
Texas-born singer Selena Gomez, 27, wrote on Twitter that she was "devastated by the fires in Australia. Praying for everyone affected and all of the first responders. I'm making a donation and would love if you would consider doing the same if you can," she said, posting a link.
On Sunday at Australia's annual Pacific Fair Magic Millions Polo event, Sydney born-and-raised actress Rebel Wilson raised $100,000 for fire relief, auctioning off two eight-person lunch dates with her. "I've never done anything like this,'' Wilson told the audience, according to the newspaper The Australian Financial Review, jokingly adding, "It will be a sick lunch because I know how to eat."
English actress Naomi Watts, who was raised in Australia from age 14, posted a short Instagram video of birds chattering in a forest in Byron, New South Wales, Australia, sometime before the fires. "So much wildlife already lost. And still much of the summer ahead," wrote the two-time Oscar nominee, 51. "My heart goes out to those who've lost loved ones and homes. Big gratitude to the brave firemen who literally haven't stopped during the holidays!! Heartbroken for all the animals, plants and land... [prayer emoji] for rain."