Many of you – especially those of you who, like myself, are from Australia – will have heard by now of the devastating bushfires which have been raging in the Australian states of Victoria (especially) and New South Wales since late last week. As of this writing, the fires in Victoria alone are known to have killed more than 180 people 209 people, with the death toll expected to rise and possibly top 300. Last I heard about 500 people had been injured, and 100 of them had been hospitalised. Over 330,000 450,000 hectares have been burnt out and nearly 1000 1,800 homes destroyed. In some cases entire towns have been levelled. These are officially the worst bushfires in Australia’s history, which is no mean feat considering that Australia is claimed to be the most fire-prone country in the world.
Even after seeing the devastation and dozens of traumatised victims on TV, it’s hard to imagine what it must have been like. It seems like half the state was on fire at one point or another.1 I do have some inkling of what they’re going through, having had a bushfire come perilously close to my house about 5 years ago; but that fire, terrifying as it was, was piddling in comparison to these bushfires. It “only” killed about 2 people and destroyed a few dozen homes. Even that much left scars on our community which took a long time to recover from. The scale of these fires in comparison staggers the mind.
At times like these, it is up to the rest of us Aussies to help, knowing that the people affected would do the same if our positions were reversed. That’s why I’m pledging 50% of Inventive Dingo’s proceeds towards helping bushfire victims, dating back from the day the fires took hold (February 7th) and lasting until the end of the month March 14th.
To be clear, by “proceeds” I mean the money which I actually receive, calculated after e-commerce fees and conversion to Australian dollars. So about 45% of the purchase price of each direct Mayhem Intergalactic sale will be donated. The percentage of the purchase price in the case of Steam sales is slightly lower, since my cut is lower than in the direct case. The dates reflect the times that the sales are made, not when I receive the money (there is usually about a month of lag time).
The money will be donated to the Bushfire Appeal set up by the Australian Red Cross; 100% of the donation will go directly towards assisting victims and reconstruction efforts, as they have promised not to use any of that money to fund administrative overheads.
I figure it’s the least I can do.
1. The burnt-out areas in Victoria actually comprise about 1% of the state’s land area, which is a pretty significant chunk of land. As a point of comparison, Victoria is larger than the average US state, according to Wikipedia; 237,629 square kilometres, compared to an average of 183,238 square kilometres (calculated based on the total land area of the 50 mainland US states).
Edited 14/2/09: Updated number of houses destroyed and hectares burnt.
Edited 21/2/09: Appeal extended for two weeks, until March 14th. Updated official death toll.