Sunday, February 08, 2009

Every summer it becomes apparent just how extreme Australia's weather conditions can be; and this summer has been worse than any in at least twenty years. We have just returned from Victoria, where they have had record-breaking temperatures for the last couple of weeks; and all you have to do is glance at a TV or turn on a radio to realise that most of the state is in flames. Approximately 70 people have died in this year's fires, and entire towns have been burnt out. Marysville and Kinglake, to all intents and purposes, no longer exist. Thousands of homes and properties have been lost throughout the state, and many of those fires are still not under control. I grew up in the Australian bush, and I know the destruction that can be caused by fire despite taking all possible precautions. Sometimes, like this summer, there's simply nothing that can be done. I urge any and all of my readers who are able to donate to the Australian Red Cross' "Victorian Bushfire Appeal".

I must, however, note the positive side of this disaster: It is absolutely wonderful to see how our people respond in times of crisis. I suppose we're used to it; if it isn't fire, it's flood or drought (or all at once in different areas). In this case, probably most of the people fighting the fires are volunteers; and charities who are already overstretched due to the current financial crisis are still coming good and providing emergency assistance to those affected by the fires. ABC radio has become the emergency broadcasting service, giving news of fire locations and severity and also broadcasting "community meetings" in areas too badly affected to organise one in the flesh. We are never a finer representation of what humans should be like, than when the shit hits the fan. So, a massive cheer and a thank you to everybody who has done something or given something beyond the bare minimum.

7 comments:

Ponita said...

OMG, Stace, watching all this on the news is horrific!

I so hope you stay safe. I hope no one else perishes...

Having seen the eucalyptus trees in California burn during thier wildfires, I can only imagine what happens in Oz.

Mother Nature certainly goes to extremes, doesn't she?

And yes, people seem to respond best when faced with overwhelming crises... too bad we can't be like that during times of calm as well, eh?

Stace said...

Quick update: 108 confirmed dead, including TV news presenter Brian Naylor. Alfred Hospital in Melbourne has run out of morphine for treating burns victims. And the fires are now officially the worst in Australia's history.

Cazzie!!! said...

I cannot stop crying reading this post. I too have given the link to donate.
I just am so exhausted from work saturday..I should not complain, but my rockport shoes that cost me the earth just did not do their job on Saturday afternoon/evening with the amount of casualties coming in to work... My legs ache..and I cannot fathom how firies and residents of those areas feel.
I am SO GLAD to see a positive spin on it all..and of course it is how people ought to be..gah!
Is your family ok Stace?

Stace said...

I'm sorry Cazzie, I didn't mean to make you cry :( My family is fine, thanks for asking, although they couldn't get into the city yesterday as planned because the Hume was closed. They're kind of in between fires - in Euroa, between fires at Broadford and Glenrowan, but each are a fair distance away. They're affected by smoke a bit, but not threatened by fire as yet.

Jewel said...

Stace, we have been praying that the fires would be brought under control, that rain would come, anything to stop the suffering and destruction. And to think these fires may have been intentionally set is unimaginable. I am with you all in thought and spirit. ((HUGS))

Althea said...

Hey Stace :) I'd been meaning to ask about your family...glad to hear that they're OK and that they stay that way.

Stace said...

Thanks Althea :) My parents are actually here in Canberra this weekend - I'm not sure if they came to visit me, or just to get away from the smoke!! Maybe both :)