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January 04, 2020

Sixers' Ben Simmons laments 'terrifying' destruction of Australia wildfires

Natural Disasters Wildfires
Ben Simmons Australia Erik Williams/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons will miss Monday's game against Atlanta, and possibly more.

Philadelphia may think the sky is falling after the Sixers lost their fourth straight game Friday night against the Houston Rockets, but there are more important concerns in the world than the NBA's Eastern Conference standings.

Prior to Friday's game, Ben Simmons took to Instagram to address the devastating wildfires that have engulfed his native Australia since mid-November.

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I’m so sad by the loss our country is currently facing. The images of the raging fires, people, families, firefighters and wildlife are nothing short of terrifying. 12 million acres of land destroyed, human lives lost, animals being wiped out and misplaced with homes and communities in ruins and this number continues to rise daily. I am working with my family and calling on my Australian NBA brothers and any others that can, to do our part to help in this catastrophic disaster, not just for today but to support communities in their eventual rebuild when the fires have stopped. Australia is a strong and resilient country and I urge you all to be brave, kind and compassionate to each other through this extremely hard time. 💚💛 🇦🇺

A post shared by Ben Simmons (@bensimmons) on

"I’m so sad by the loss our country is currently facing," Simmons wrote. "The images of the raging fires, people, families, firefighters and wildlife are nothing short of terrifying. 12 million acres of land destroyed, human lives lost, animals being wiped out and misplaced with homes and communities in ruins and this number continues to rise daily."

The 2019-20 bushfire season in Australia — still not even at its peak — has claimed at least 24 human fatalities, up to half a billion animals, and the destruction of hundreds of homes and habitats. More than 100 blazes remain active as firefighters scramble to contain them.

Images and videos coming from Australia have illustrated the harrowing state of affairs sweeping across the country, as kangaroos flee en masse from approaching flames and heroic rescuers risk their lives to save koalas surrounded by burning forest ground.


Ecologists and climate scientists have warned that January and February may bring the most intense fires of the season, compounding a problem that threatens to become a more entrenched feature of Australia's ecosystem.

"I am working with my family and calling on my Australian NBA brothers and any others that can, to do our part to help in this catastrophic disaster, not just for today but to support communities in their eventual rebuild when the fires have stopped," Simmons continued.

Those who wish to assist firefighters, displaced people and wildlife have a plethora of options to make donations — from the Salvation Army to the Australian Red Cross, food banks, wildlife hospitals and funds established for individual states and districts in the country.

While he's not at home, Simmons praised the character of Australia and encouraged citizens to band together.

"Australia is a strong and resilient country and I urge you all to be brave, kind and compassionate to each other through this extremely hard time," Simmons said.

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