Australia bushfires: Celeste Barber gives emotional update on successful fundraiser

Australian comedian Celeste Barber has shared an emotional update on her successful fundraiser for the country's bushfire crisis, which has surpassed $43.5 million in donations as of Tuesday.

The 37-year-old broke down in tears as she addressed her 6.6 million Instagram followers on Monday, thanking donors for their support and generosity.

"I think it's just hit me... it's so much money... $36 million that you have all donated, it's incredible," Barber said in a series of videos shared to her Instagram story.

"I just had a minute to stop... I was just lying in bed with my kids and my husband and I just... thanks.

"It's so much money, they need so much. I don't want to keep asking you guys, but I'm gonna keep asking."

In an interview with 7 News on Sunday, Barber said her family has been evacuated due to the raging fires, which have claimed the lives of more than 20 people, 500 million animals and burned more than six million hectares of land.

"Someone needed to do something and the people did something," Barber told the outlet outside a Coles supermarket in Tweed Heads, New South Wales (NSW). The mother was loading up on supplies.

On Tuesday morning, Barber also called out the world's billionaires, questioning how the Notre-Dame fire in April 2019 was able to raise billions in donations.

"Remember when Notre-Dame burned down... something like billions of dollars were raised by like a handful of people or something," she said on Instagram.

"Where are those people now? Everyday people are donating $10 here, $10 there... that's what's getting us to nearly $40 million. If the billionaires could flick us their version of $10 that would be amazing... we need assistance, please billionaires."

French tycoons Bernard Arnault and François Pinault famously made a controversial €300 million (NZ$500.02 million) donation to Notre-Dame's reconstruction, causing debate over whether the money could have been put to better use elsewhere.

The money raised in Barber's Facebook fundraiser will be donated to The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service and Brigades Donations Fund.

Firefighters stationed in the ravaged states of NSW and Victoria have had a brief but welcome respite due to this week's rainfall and milder conditions. However, the temperatures are expected to flare up once more this weekend.