Cooler weather and even a few spots of rain has hit Melbourne and other areas of Victoria, but the damage had been done and is still occurring. Victoria is in the midst of the biggest bushfire disaster ever, Australia’s worst natural disaster. More than 700 homes are destroyed, entire towns no longer exist and at the latest count 108 people have been killed. Unfortunately this number is likely to rise. Entire families are missing, access to communities is restricted to emergency personnel only. Burnt out cars litter the roads and still the fires are raging.
Victoria erupted in flames on Saturday afternoon, with temperatures of up to 46 degrees and winds of 100 kilometers an hour. Families and communities have had a choice to evacuate or stay and fight. Despite homes being equipped to fight the fires or to protect themselves and their belongings the fire was too fast and ran over the dry landscape at speeds that didn’t allow for escape. People were trapped in their cars trying to escape when the fires swept through, some were fortunate enough to cover with blankets as the fires burned around them, others weren’t so lucky and the car and everything in it was destroyed.
There are more than 30 different fires burning across the state. The fire crews are still out fighting, with more crews arriving by the hour but still the fires are raging. Even the army has been called in and is working to clear areas of land. Volunteers and emergency workers are working around the clock to try and save people, homes and property. The worst disaster in the history of the country, made even more heartbreaking by the fact that in some cases, the fires appear to be deliberately lit.
I am fortunate enough to not be affected directly, but please spare a thought or a prayer for everyone who is affected by the tragedy of the bushfires. If you can, please donate to the Australian Red Cross fund to help them provide food, clothing and shelter for those who have lost everything. If you don’t have any available cash in this difficult financial climate, think about donating blood. Perhaps even a donation of food, blankets, clothing and toys to your local op shop, they may not go directly to those affected by the bush fires but will help others in need.