We know about fire in this country. We have fire plans. We have an unbelievably heroic volunteer fire force in the Country Fire Authority (many of whom will be traumatised for years to come by what they have seen). We have bushfires every year. Some of you will recall the fires a couple of years ago that burned for over a month. Even so, this event is unprecedented. So many homes lost, lives lost, livelihoods destroyed.
Like so many Australians, I have been glued to the news sites, TV and radio, listening, watching, trying to take it in.
Here's a recent summary, and a gallery of photos. For those of you who can stomach more, there are many more stories at the Herald Sun or The Age (newspaper) websites.
At work, we check the updates in our lunch hour and struggle to comprehend it together.
The Yarra Valley was about to host the annual Grape Grazing Festival--it has been called off, so many vineyards reduced to ashes.
The Healesville Sanctuary, a popular tourist attraction where native Australian animals are kept in natural conditions, was evacuated--the animals moved to city zoos. 10,000 native animals were not so lucky.
There are fire still burning, and there is a race against time to get them under control before the temperatures rise again. It's not over yet.
There are appeals on all the major TV networks, radio stations and through banks and supermarkets. The response so far has been incredible--I think everyone desperately wants to be able to do something to help.
This Friday, Coles supermakets will donate their day's profits to the bushfires, so we will be doing our monthly shop there.
I am collecting resources for the RSPCA, who put out an urgent call for blankets, bedding, cat and dog food and containers for animals to drink out of, as they are being overwhelmed with animals--pets, livestock and native animals--in desperate need of care.
For anyone that wants to help, here are some links:
- information on appeals
- The Red Cross Appeal
- more links to appeals
- a special 'Virtual Dog Show' fundraiser.