The Victorian Bushfires
If I may attempt a moment of levity, Nathan Rees has offered Victoria the help of the NSW Government. John Brumby replied "Thanks, but things are enough of a disaster down here already."
But in all seriousness, disaster doesn't even seem to cover it. Catastrophe perhaps. I don't know.
There were warnings this would be worse than Ash Wedesday, but I thought that was the hyperbole used to make people take the threat seriously and make preparations. Then When I first woke on Sunday the death toll was reported at 25. How the hell do 25 people die in a bush fire in this day and age? I wondered. I was thinking of isolated deaths, people fleeing in cars. Not whole towns being destroyed, with residents in them.
Through the day the death toll mounted - 35, 49, 66, 84. And then you couldn't take it in any more. The sight of the Victorian Premier and hardened newspeople breaking down. The stories of unimaginable horror.
As I write this, the death toll from the Victorian bush fires is 130, and still rising over the hours. It may go over 250. 750 homes have been destroyed. There are whole districts rescuers have yet to visit. Firefighters have battled blazes on two hours sleep, themselved battling burns. Some have lost their families as they tried to fight the fires.
It's the worst natural disaster in Australian history. And I've run out of words. I don't want to watch and read updates, but I can't make myself stop.
Please go here to make donations to help the fire victims.