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Australia: Bushfires devastate Victoria

It is being called Australia’s worst natural disaster. Bushfires have devastated the South East. The worst impact is in Victoria with 108 confirmed deaths and more than 750 houses incinerated. Whole towns such as Marysville have been wiped out, destroying their communities.

Disbelief has been a very common reaction. Daryl Mason at The Orstrahyun:

The scope of the destruction, the scale of human tragedy of the apocalyptic Sunday fires in country Victoria, Australia's worst bushfire disaster, is beyond comprehension.

More than 100 dead, almost 1000 homes, properties and business destroyed, entire towns and villages in country Victoria laid to waste, some 350,000 hectares burned.

Reading through dozens of stories, listening to the stories of remarkably calm and lucid survivors on radio, trying to take in all those images of horror on TV, of entire towns obliterated by fire and cyclonic winds, of lone firefighters taking on five and six story high walls of flames with a single hose, of frantic survivors trying to find missing friends and family members, it's impossible to summarize any of it, all of it.

A Holocaust Of Fire, Cyclones Of Flames, Burn 100 To Death

The indiscriminate nature of the tragedy was brought home by the death of a very well known Victorian, former news reader Brian Naylor. Like most members of our local media he was well acquainted with bushfires. Andrew Norton, at his self-titled blog, paid tribute to him:

Among the 108 confirmed dead as of this morning is Brian Naylor, who read the Channel Nine news for twenty years from 1978, in the years when Nine news dominated the ratings. Almost everyone who lived in Melbourne at that time would have received part of their news from Naylor, who had the sober, sensible and reliable demeanour we prefer in newsreaders, but could also handle the touching or quirky stories that Nine often liked to finish with.

He ended each broadcast with ‘may your news be good news, and goodnight’. It’s so sad that he ended his life as part of a very bad news story, for so many people.

Brian Naylor and dozens of others, RIP

Twitter has been buzzing during this emergency. Annette's Blog, Shoosh, the grown-ups are talking, posted her tweets last night:

# 08:41 Oh dear gods. Woke up to find the #bushfires became a lot worse overnight. It sounds like 2 whole towns got wiped out and familes missing.
# 09:34 In shock. Official said the Vic #bushfires are 300% their WORST cast scenarios! Skynews report: tinyurl.com/by4d8f
# 09:54 Bloody hell. Even the Premier is on Twitter @vicpremier. He's asking for blood donations (tho not thru Twitter). Will now watch TV news. eep
# 10:20 Whoa. Just found out that friends who moved to Kinglake lost their home but were among the “lucky ones” who got out alive. o_0 #bushfires
# 11:09 searching for Lixa who lives in the abandoned church in Craigieburn, outside of Melbourne. Worried about her. #bushfires #melbourne

Tweets for Today

Her twitter search is very active.

Meet Me at Mike’s is a craft blog. It took up the issue of how its readers could help:

I know that lots of saddened people want to make SOFTIES to donate to kids affected by these fires. Bianca at The Toy Society posted last night about that – and a couple of people commented here too. I think it's definitely worth making softies to be distributed down the track, once things have settled down a bit, and agencies are accepting that kind of thing. I think they'll be warmly received. But it's really important to try and help with the immediate issues that people are facing too. Donate money. Or donate blood. Or donate your time. You can do that here.

Victorian Bushfires – Ways To Help Today (and Tomorrow!)

The link is to the Red Cross. My mother worked for them at the time of Australia’s previous worst natural disaster, Cyclone Tracy, that hit Darwin in 1974. On Christmas Day, the morning after the cyclone, she woke us up and told us we were would be having lunch without her. We didn’t see much of mum for several weeks. Her usual job was helping to re-unite migrants and refugees who had become separated. She did wait for a phone call. The mass evacuation of Darwin was our own version of these international diasporas.

This is an ongoing emergency with fires still burning out of control and a lot of summer heat to go.

Picture on front page from the Flickr page of sunrise.seven

26 comments

  • tEIGAN

    THIS IS SO HEART BREAKING FOR AUSTRAILLA. WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY THANKS FOR YOUR PRAYERS & WISHS EVEN THOSE NOT FROM AUSTRAILLA.
    SO MANY LIVES HAVE BEEN LOST FAMILY’S BROKEN & LEFT WITH NOTHING LETS JUST HOPE AUSTRAILLANS KEEP ON GIVE AS I NO THEY WILL LETS ALL PULL TOGETHER & HELP REBUILD VIC & MANY LIVES EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS.

    LETS PULL TOGETHER & HELP VIC GET THROUGH THIS!!!!!!!!
    GOD BLESS RIP TO ALL THAT ARE LOST.

  • Very sorry about to learn about the fires. Hope the recovery efforts are going as swiftly as possible.

  • We are Praying; Peace, Light, Hope, Love & Courage – God Bless

    Australia Wildfires;

    There are no words to express the anguish;

    Words completely fail to come forth and our heart grieves for the loss of the victims of this terrible tragedy;

    We are deeply saddened and share your pain and it is with sadness in my heart that I write these few words; expressing our deepest sympathies and condolences;

    Our prayers and thoughts reach out those who have lost their loved ones;

    May God’s Blessings give you the strength and courage to overcome this enormous challenge

    All of us are praying; Our thoughts are with you

    Peace, Light, Hope, Love & Courage

    God Bless,

    Vashi

  • Richard

    No fires currently at Leongatha that I can locate.

  • JustIN

    apparently its said that some idiot started one of the fires.

  • janelle mackenzie

    hey… i give all my heart to the lost of people in vic and to the heros down there trying to save and help everyone in this time of life… i like to say tegan smchidt is my new hero and has been me best friend for ages and hope she is doing all she can to fight these fires she is 17 and has said she has seen things that she never wants to see again just like all of us… thank you to all the people doing the best they can to the fire bergades police officers and everybody else… the people who have been lost will never be forgotten and will always be in our hearts weather we no them or not… be safe everybody and keep praying that this will end soon… from janelle mackenzie age 17 use to live in west wyalong nsw( btw friends have told me how bad it is down there) now living in wooli… may all my love go to everybody out there xoxo

  • […] “Whole towns such as Marysville have been wiped out, destroying their communities. Disbelief has been a very common reaction,” writes Rennie. […]

  • Paul

    living in Oz for many years in the 70’s my soul never went away. You’re a proud nation and I know that the people who lost their loved ones will never be left alone. Thinking of these people every hour.

  • irene collinson

    our hearts go out to all you wonderful aussies from the pomms.

  • Patricia -Portugal

    My deepest condolences for all the Australian people.

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