Australia is experiencing its worst natural disaster in history.
Victoria’s week of soaring temperatures, which reached as high as 47.9° C in some towns (or 118.22° F), along with gale force winds have created the most horrific bush fires this country has ever seen.
As I write this 173 people are dead, over 750 homes have been destroyed and whole towns have been wiped out. An estimated 330,00 hectares (815,446 acres) of land and its wildlife have been decimated.
These figures are impossible for me to get my head around, but worse still is the knowledge that the death toll can only rise because there are areas that the fire fighters still cannot reach.
Australia is a country that suffers with bush fires, but nothing like this.
In the area of Kinglake, a resident, who survived the blaze, reported that…
“it took just two minutes for the flames to travel 20km, roar up the Sherwin Ranges and explode over the top.”
Two minutes for homes to be felled and people to die from a fire they never even saw coming.
The devastation that these communities must be experiencing is unimaginable, and I think as a nation we are still in shock. I know it feels quite surreal for me to be sitting in a comfortable house south of Sydney, NSW, on a rainy day writing this, a cup of tea at hand, everything normal and oh so easy.
It feels worse than surreal. I feel guilty – helpless. Like my life shouldn’t go on as normal while my countrymen and women are suffering so.
Rationally of course I know I have done what I can by donating to the Emergency Relief Fund of the Australian Red Cross, but still this uneasiness and sense of loss lingers. I guess it’s common to feel this way when there is great suffering around you, though you and your family are fine.
For everyone affected by this tragedy, I send my prayers.
For the fire fighters, Australian Army and brave citizens of Victoria who are battling to put out these fires and help their communities recover, I applaud your courage and grace.
As a fellow Australian I grieve, while giving thanks for the tenacity of our nation’s spirit. We are people who are generous and enduring. Whose strength and hope cannot be contained or destroyed. Not even by mother nature.
Photos copyright of The Herald Sun