Posted by: dsduffy | February 10, 2009

The Bushfires


From Wikepedia:

A series of bushfires, including 31 major fires, ignited across the Australian state of Victoria on 7 February 2009. The fires have so far resulted in at least 181 deaths, and 78 people have been admitted to hospitals across Victoria with burns, at least 20 in a critical condition, and 9 on life support or in intensive care.

The fires have destroyed at least 922 homes. Many towns northeast of Melbourne have been almost completely destroyed, particularly; Kinglake, Marysville, Narbethong and Strathewen.

The fires occurred during the latter part of an exceptional heat wave on a day when several localities across the state, including the state capital of Melbourne, recorded their highest temperatures since records began in 1859. The numerous fires are largely the result of recent lightning strikes, although some are suspected to have been deliberately lit by arsonists-whose action has been described as “mass murder” by the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.”

It has made the headlines across the world, and this disaster is happening as close as 30 kilometers from where we live. It is heartbreaking to watch the news or even listen to the radio , hearing people’s stories of survival, heroism, loss and total despair. Some of the fires were natural, others not; it is the deliberate ones that make you squint your eyes, shake your head and think WTF? Why would someone do something so evil? It is bad enough that the extreme heat and lightning strikes can cause such destruction, but for someone to do it on purpose, it is just sickening.

There are numerous efforts to assist the families and businesses affected by donating money and supplies. I am particularly impressed by the efforts of the local grocery store, Coles with this (from their website):  “To help lend a hand, every Coles store in Australia will donate this Friday’s profits to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal, in partnership with Australian Red Cross.”

Every little bit helps, and I will be doing my shopping at Coles on Friday. I just hope the CFA (Country Fire Authority) is able to get the fires under control and save as many lives as possible.

When we hear about disasters in other parts of the world, it doesn’t seem to affect us the way it does when it is close to home. This is opening my eyes wide, and even though I am not a native Australian and have only been here for 4 months, I  am deeply saddened by this terrible crisis. Even though I don’t know anyone personally affected, still it breaks my heart to see these people suffering through the loss of loves ones and/or their homes.

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Responses

  1. We have been following the Australian fires here in the U.S., too …. the fires have been getting a lot of news coverage. I understand the death count is now over 200. We have been worried about you … knowing that the fires are in Victoria. Hope they have them totally under control soon …. so terribly sad. You are safe, correct? Thinking of you your “fellow” Aussies at this terrible time. Love to you all, M.C.


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