Actress Nicole Kidman and her husband Keith Urban have donated A$500,000 (£228,278) to the appeal for victims of the devastating Australian bushfires.

More than 180 people lost their lives in Victoria as soaring temperatures and high winds laid waste to entire towns.

Not all of the blazes have yet been extinguished and police believe arsonists may have been responsible for at least two of the fires.

Moulin Rouge! star Kidman and her musician husband said they were grieving "for the people who have been struck so devastatingly by this disaster".

"Our hearts go out tonight to all the families that are dealing with the loss of loved ones and having to rebuild their lives again," said country singer Urban, who married Kidman in 2006.

The couple are both currently out of the country but said they had been following the disaster on television and regularly calling their families for news.

"As Australians, I think the biggest thing is that no matter where you are in the world, we support each other and we rally," Kidman added.

"That's why we wanted to show our support and we would like to donate A$500,000 on behalf of our family to the families that need it now."

They were speaking as part of a telethon on Australia's Channel Nine, which also saw actors Orlando Bloom and Rachel Griffiths and singer KD Lang appeal for donations.

It was announced on Wednesday that there is to be a national day of mourning for the fires, which destroyed more than 1,000 homes.

12/02/2009 17:54:33