Sheffield Wednesday star Massimo Luongo praises charity efforts and describes family situation as bush fires roar on in his native Australia
Worldwide charity efforts supporting Australia’s battle against bush fires that have ravaged its countryside need to continue, according to Sheffield Wednesday’s Aussie midfielder Massimo Luongo.
The 27-year-old, who was born and raised in the suburbs of Sydney before signing for Tottenham Hotspur as a teenager, expressed his concern for the situation, which has destroyed thousands of homes and claimed dozens of lives.
A four-day heatwave forecast in some areas of Australia threatens further damage in the coming week in areas including in Luongo’s home state of New South Wales.
Millions of pounds have been pledged from all corners of the world. Brighton keeper Mat Ryan, an international team mate of Luongo’s, donated £15,000 to the effort after saying he would pledge A$500 for every save made over a weekend in the Premier League in mid-January.
Firefighting efforts have been offered from crews around the world and Luongo said he has been overjoyed with the scale of charity effort, praising Ryan himself.
He said: “It’s brilliant, what everyone is doing is brilliant. If anyone can help in any way, anything will help.
“So many people have been affected. It’s brilliant from him [Ryan] and it’s everywhere, the coverage is everywhere.
“There’s so much stuff going on back home, from the Socceroos, from the PFA, there’s a lot of people doing stuff, which is great.”
Luongo said that while his family and friends haven’t been directly impacted by the fires, they are experiencing a change in the atmosphere.
“I haven’t got anyone in the serious parts, but the air isn’t great and air pollution is real bad,” he said.
“They’re near [to the fires], all my friends and family are close and the sky is a weird tinge, but they’re not seriously affected or anything like that.”
Speaking after his donation, Brighton keeper Ryan said: “There continues to be homes lost, lives of both people and animals lost or in danger, along with whole communities, businesses and more.
“I hope we can continue in the same charitable manner and continue to encourage and influence people into raising money for those affected."