Sunday, February 08, 2009
Eighty-four people killed by Aussie bushfires...so far.
There's a terrible deathtoll in the bushfires which are destroying huge areas of southern Australia. South Australia and New South Wales are being badly hit but the real tragedy is in Victoria.
As of ten minutes ago, eighty-four people are confirmed dead and emergency services fear they will find many more as they get into fire ravaged areas.
Whole townships have been destroyed, over 700 homes so far. Up to 80 per cent of the township of Marysville has been reported destroyed, emergency services haven't got in yet and the death toll doesn't include anyone from there.
As they go in they're finding bodies in cars, in burnt out houses, in the streets.
The ABC reports that Melbourne hospitals are dealing with large numbers of burns victims. Some patients are so severely burned that they're not expected to survive.
Thousands of firefighters, including volunteers from other states, are trying to save lives, property, pets and livestock and thousands of people have fled to relief centres set up by the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and others. The army has been put on standby.
A current report:
Residents and tourists are stranded in Yarra Glen, north-east of Melbourne, after fires cut roads going in and out of town.
Visitors and locals have herded into the main street as farms, homes and hotels are evacuated and people are left with nowhere to go.
"The fire's really close, we can see the flames from the middle of town", said tourist Jacqui Cheng.
"There's hundreds of people, cars are packed full, there are dogs and people with horse floats, they're all in the street, they're just wandering around.
"The fire is on three sides and all the roads are cut."
The Age in Melbourne has the stories, videos and photos here.
It's just getting worse and worse. At 10pm Dubai time the death toll has reached a confirmed 93 and more are expected. There are thirty-one huge fires burning in Victoria, twelve out of control.
Entire townships have been destroyed. This is a shot from ABC TV film showing Marysville: