Monday, February 09, 2009

Fire update

I am trying not to be on too much of a downer on the blog at the moment, but the fact is that the ongoing bushfire tragedy is basically at the forefront of everyone mind at the moment. This is now officially the worst natural disaster in Australian history.

There are both terrible, terrible stories coming to light now, but as well there are amazing tales of survival and bravery. The fires continue to burn out of control and there are still homes and lives under threat.

There are stories of entire towns being wiped out. There is a town called Strathewen that had a population of 200 people. There are fears that 30% of the population in that town have been killed. 30%. It just seems totally unfathomable.

Going into work today felt quite surreal. I remember feeling this way a couple of times before, most notably during the aftermath of the Bali terrorist bombings and September 11. It just feels so strange to be going about your normal lives when you know so many people are suffering so badly.

Once I got to work, it was to find that one of my staff has a sister who has lost absolutely everything. Whilst they all survived, it was a very close thing for her nephew who only survived by jumping in a water tank.

Another staff member lived 5 streets away from where some homes were lost, and yet another evacuated on Saturday just in case when a few homes in her suburb went up in flames.

One of the programs that my employer runs has been completely destroyed, so even if our staff were not directly in the path of the fires, they and others like them may have lost their livelihoods for a short time, or maybe for the long term.

Again, none of these affect me directly, but it still feels pretty close to home given that I know people who know people.

Amongst all the terrible stories, there are stories of incredible bravery and of miraculous survivals, and so many of our volunteer firefighters, some of whom have lost their own homes, are still battling to fight the fires that are still burning. And Aussies are being incredibly generous. Our phone lines were overloaded today as people tried to ring into our organisation to give donations.

** Image from TimesOnline


  1. One of the things the internet has done is bring the whole world so much closer so that when a tragedy happens on the other side of the world it brings it so much closer to home. The fires are the top news stories here and especially since I consider you a blogging friend, I've been keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. I'm so glad that you are alright but saddened that so many others are suffering such terrible losses.

  2. I've also seen the reports on the news here in the US. My prayers are with everyone in the path of the fire.

  3. Such a terrible tragedy, especially now that we know it was deliberately set. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers, as well as your fellow Aussies.

  4. It's just horrible, Marg, and don't feel any guilt for writing about the fires. Those of us in other parts o the world want to know you are safe and this is one of the quickest ways to let us know.

    I've been reading about the fires and the death rate and it's hurt my heart so much. And now it is pretty certain the fire had help from some cruel person.

    I continue to keep everyone in Australia in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. It's scary. And I don't have the words to express how sorry and how I feel about all these people are losing their homes and loved ones.

    Keeping you and yours in my thoughts and prayers.

    Hang in there, Marg!

  6. Marg please stay safe. Fires scare me worse than anything. Lets hope they can either get these fires under control or you all get some heavy rains. Today we have fire warnings out all over the place here in Oklahoma because of the dry conditions and high winds. The weather has been horrible everywhere.

  7. I saw the first pictures last night. US news is covering the story quite extensively. It' so horrific. Stay safe.

    BTW, it's not a downer to post. Part of the reason we have our blogs is so we can express stuff. It's good to get it down on virtual paper and release some of the tension.

    If you blog it... we will come.

  8. We have friends in Melbourne, and they were talking about these fires as well. So tragic!

  9. Don't feel bad about posting, it is your blog and this is how you are feeling right now.

    Be safe.

  10. I have been thinking of you all 'down there' so much this weekend! Having spent 5 of the last 6 years in Adelaide, I know the fear of summer fires. To see this devastation is breaking my heart.

    Stay safe.

  11. It's certainly not a downer to post, since so many of us are worried about you and are hoping that you're still alright.

    I've been following the story on the 'Net (I'm not much of a TV news girl) and it's truly horrifying. Stay safe and hold your loved ones close.

  12. Marg, it is just tragic and heartbreaking. It is all over our news here too and my prayers are going out to everyone there. Please continue to stay safe.

  13. Keep posting Marg - we need to know how you are doing. My first thought when I got up was to check on you and Kat O+.

    The news is devastating and heart wrenching and you are in my thoughts and prayers.


  14. Dear Marg,
    That wildfire is a disaster. Worse is the fact that authorities are not prepared to deal with it.
    I completely sympathize with you! Wish there was a way to help. Every year from mid-September to mid-October, here in South California we are plagued with wild fires. Fortunately firefighters and National Guard and other authorities have become experts in controlling these fires but some times they have to evacuate large populations. Financial damage is high usually but (thank god!) loss of lives is very minimum. I know one or two death is still a lot but compare to a hundred, it is still minimum.
    From this corner of the world, we can only send you our sympathies and wishes for rapid control of fire or for rain.
    Hope for the best my dear and be strong,

  15. I saw images of the fires for the first time today on TV (normally I don't watch TV news) and it's just terrible. I have no words for it. And the fact that some had criminal origins makes it even worse. How can people do this to one another, to nature, to the world?

    Stay safe, Marg. You and the Australian people will be in my thoughts.

  16. I feel for all of you in Australia. This is a terrible time. Thanks for keeping us updated.

  17. I'm so sorry Marg. I'm keeping Australia in my thoughts.

  18. The fires are on the news, here in the UK, constantly. Such heart breaking stories and awful destruction. I think you're all in everyone's thoughts over here.

  19. I have been following this on the news here, now. It's just terrible! I was seeing people interviewed and stuff. Sad state of affairs.

  20. My prayers for everyone involved -- including you Marg. It such terrible things to happen.

  21. This is shocking and sad, I am keeping you and your community in my prayers.



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