Monday, February 09, 2009

Firsthand Report From Australia

About the fires and devastation “close to home,” Scott emails from Australia:

The whole thing is beyond belief (I can understand how Americans felt during Hurricane Katrina).

It is close to home. I've been to some of these towns (or at least driven through them) and some friends have people who live around there (they've had no bad news so far).

It's just the scale of destruction and the fact it was so unexpected that has shocked most people.

We get bushfires in Victoria every summer. We have one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world and one of the largest volunteer fire fighting forces in the world. But fires of this number and destruction have come as a surprise to everyone.

One good thing is that the country is coming together. Volunteer fire fighters are coming in from interstate to help out. Money is flowing in from government, industry, sports figures and private sources, around $14 million so far (in one day with Australia’s population of 20 million).

The weird part is that Queensland (in the north east) is in the middle of major floods, but it is all but forgotten, though the rain would sure be helpful here.

Here are some news sites for your readers:

The Herald Sun is the most popular paper in Victoria.

The other big paper here is The Age.

Another news site is ninemsm.

Here’s a good article which explains why Melbourne and the country side around it is in danger of bushfires.
Many thanks, Scott, for taking time in such difficult circumstances to share your observations and send us the links.

I’m not surprised Australians are pulling together and being generous. You were that was to us after 9/11 and to each other after Bali.

Folks, my wife and I contributed, and any of you who wish to donate can do so through the Australian Red Cross here.