Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's been 7 days

This time last week we were waking up to the news that 14 people had died and a few houses had burned.

A week on, the death toll is 181, and still expected to rise further, approximately 2000 homes are gone, more than 7000 people are homeless, and whole towns have been destroyed. Twelve fires are still burning out of control. The power of Mother Nature is astounding. Unfortunately some of the fires were deliberately lit, and it appears that one of the bigger fires started due to a power line problem, but once they started, the conditions were just right for a fire disaster and that is exactly what happened.

There have been amazing videos which just tore the heart out of the viewer, watching the fire and embers surround peoples properties and hearing those people say goodbye to their loved ones, just in case they didn't make it.

On Friday, for the first time since the fires started, you could smell the smoke in the air in Melbourne, and the sky was hazy. The moon was red and it just felt so eerie. It was a potent reminder that while the initial force of the fire has been mostly harnessed, there were still people whose properties and lives were at risk.

Whilst for the people who were involved in this fire, there is no respite from the reality of losing your home and your friends and loved ones, there have been times this week when I have just had to turn off the news and do or watch something else because the sense of loss and horror is just overwhelming.

In the aftermath, what we have seen is the very generous nature of Aussies and their friends. There have been huge amounts of money raised and mountains of goods donated, and this is only the beginning.

To give some kind of perspective to how close many of these towns are to Melbourne itself, the photo below is the view from Kinglake, one of the towns devastated by the fire, and the scene where many people lost their lives. Kinglake is 99 miles (160 kilometres) from Melbourne.

Photo from the Herald Sun


  1. Oh, gosh, I have been thinking of you guys so much this week with this fire! It's so sad!

  2. Hi Marg,

    It's horrific, isn't it? I've been thinking of the people in Victoria a lot. It's awful to see such disaster affecting fellow Australians.

  3. Marg, I don't even know what to say in the face of such devastating tragedy. That picture speaks volumes.

  4. 7000 homeless :(

  5. I've been reading about your fires with growing horror. It brings back so vividly what it was like in 2000 here in Montana. At one point I was afraid instead of being forced to evacuate we would be unable to evacuate because the valley was completely surrounded. When we fled, a scoop helicopter rose from the river on one side of us to dump water on a fire on the other side of us. We're talking about a matter of feet, and they hadn't even closed the road.

    I feel for you. I really do.

  6. Wow! There isn't much to say other than stay safe.

  7. Whoa!

    I'll be thinking of you and the country -- stay safe!

  8. Oh wow. Fire is so very devastating and hard to control. My thoughts are with you and those who are suffering during this horrific time.

  9. This sadness me, but my prayers for all who are invovled in this tragedy and the horror of the fire. I've been thinking of you when I heard the new :)

  10. Marg, I am responding very late, but I am so glad that you are safe from the fires. It really is terrifying how little control we can have over our environment.

  11. just want you to know that I'm thinking of you ...

  12. What a horrible way to start off 2009! It's terrible to watch! I cannot even imagine what it is like to experience it first hand! Or, even as close as you are to the situation.

  13. I've been following your posts about this and the whole thing is just awful. I can't even imagine.



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