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Celeste Barber’s Bushfire Appeal Hits $32m As Nicole Kidman And Other Celebs Make Huge Donations

Comedians, actors and the royal family have stepped in to offer support for victims of Australia's unprecedented bushfires, helping to raise millions for firefighting services and wildlife shelters.
Celeste's fundraiser hits more than $30m.
Huffpost Australia
Celeste's fundraiser hits more than $30m.

Comedian Celeste Barber, who has family near the bushfire-hit town of Eden, has raised $32m in donations in under two days - that’s more than $666k per hour.

The mass movement was started on Friday when Celeste, who won fame for her parody photographs mimicking “real-life” reenactments of high-end fashion shoots and celebrity moments, launched a Facebook campaign for the NSW Rural Fire Service.

“Our family are being evacuated. I feel sick,” she wrote on social media.

The fundraiser has had more than 803,000 individual donations as of Monday.

Celeste said on her Instagram she spoke to “the king of the RFS” about the donation effort and said it “gave them a bit of positivity in the terror.”

“They’re going to disperse it in such an incredible way so it gets where it needs to go,” she added.

Other celebrities have also opened their hearts and wallets to help Australia’s worst bushfire crisis in living memory.

Celeste Barber raises $20m for bushfire relief.
Huffpost Australia
Celeste Barber raises $20m for bushfire relief.
Celeste Barber gives an update on her bushfire fundraiser.
Huffpost Australia
Celeste Barber gives an update on her bushfire fundraiser.

Nicole Kidman pledged a $500,000 donation on behalf of her family to New South Wales state Rural Fire Service, without specifying a currency.

Kidman spent time in Sydney over the New Year, according to a picture posted on Instagram of herself and husband country music singer Keith Urban in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Sydney has seen some of the poorest air quality of any international city in recent weeks as smoke from bushfires has blanketed the city.

“Our family’s support, thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the fires all over Australia,” she wrote, next to a link to a national firefighting donation page.

On Saturday, Queen Elizabeth joined grandsons William and Harry in expressing shock at the bushfires, and sent their thanks to the firefighters who risked their lives to save others.

Meanwhile, P!nk pledged a $500,000 donation to local fire services that were “battling so hard on the frontlines.”

“My heart goes out to our friends and family in Oz.”

Iggy Azalea, who was born in Sydney but raised in Mullumbimby on the north coast of NSW, which narrowly avoided bushfires in November, posted a photo on Instagram of her cuddling a koala and called for donations to a local wildlife shelter. By Sunday morning it had raised almost $100,000.

“Got to visit this cutie yesterday, as well as so many animals injured & rehabilitated at @currumbinwildlifehospital,” she said.

“Please donate if you can.”

The death of a 47-year old man, who was defending a friend’s rural property in NSW, took the national toll this season to 24 but NSW Premier Berejiklian said on Monday there were two people unaccounted for on NSW’s far south coast. There were four people were unaccounted for in Victoria on Monday.

No fires were burning out of control in the New South Wales, but four fires in Victoria had Evacuate Now or Emergency Level warnings.

Haze from the fires was turning skies orange as far away as New Zealand, with local police having to tell people to not call the emergency phone number.

In Canberra, officials asked for 100,000 extra breathing masks from the national stockpile as the country’s capital recorded the worst air quality in the world on Sunday, according to the IQAir AirVisual global index.

This season, 5.25 million hectares of land has been burnt, half a billion animals are feared to have perished, thousands of people have been evacuated from holiday beaches, and more than 1300 homes have been destroyed.

The federal government announced an unprecedented call up of army reservists to support firefighters as well other resources including a third navy ship equipped for disaster and humanitarian relief.

Melanie Burton contributed to this report.

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