Sunday, February 08, 2009

Not the time for a pithy title




















As most of the world knows, Victoria has been suffering from bushfires that are the worst in Australian history.

I'm ashamed to say that I didn't find out about any of it until the next day as I was too busy trying to escape the 46.4C heatwave in the safe city of Melbourne by doing my shopping extra-early and then staying inside in air-conditioned comfort with Love Chunks, Sapphire and our pets, busying ourselves with weekend newspapers, DVDs and the computer.

All too soon it was apparent that these bushfires - where wasn't there one burning in Victoria? - were far worse than even the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983 (which I remember too well) or an earlier bushfire disaster in 1939. At least 108 people dead, with still more heartbreaking searches amongst the ashes and rubble to go.

Late last night on the news several women were waiting, clutching Red Cross cups of instant coffee, wearing borrowed clothes; their homes destroyed, souls shattered. Two interviewed by the news crew were shaking as they waited for news - any news - of their husbands, who'd they last seen the day before. I'm ashamed to say that I watched this whilst sitting on my comfortable lounge, eating some chocolate, so far removed from their hell, and readying myself for bed.

Baino says it much better than I can and ex-Melbournite Sophie is watching the tragedy unfold from far away in Dubai but is still reeling from the horror and futility of it all. I'm ashamed to say that I don't have the writing abilities to do this disaster any 'justice', if that's even an appropriate way to describe it.













Victorian Premier, John Brumby, broke down during a news conference and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Police Commissioner Dixon were also struggling. Entire towns have been destroyed and it is almost impossible to imagine the impact it will have on families, friends and communities. I'm ashamed to say that I just can't imagine it; I really can't.

What I can do - and I'm asking that you do, too - is
donate. Tears choke me as I thank the entity called 'God' that all I have to worry about is that Sapphire settles into her nice new school, some writing gigs are flung my way and that our car doesn't get broken into too often. Small gripes indeed.

12 comments:

River said...

Everytime something like this happens, I feel totally helpless. I feel so sad and sorry for those who have lost family and homes, (yet glad that it isn't me), I feel terrible because I am so unable to help in any way. I hope the fires get contained and put out sooner rather than later, if only the Queensland flood waters could somehow flow down that way.

Word verification is "virdri"--very dry?

drb said...

I actually noticed that the sky looked really funny on Sat arvo 3.30pm - it was like the sky on the B/W TV! You can see the cloud and sun but the blue bits were a transparent grey. Pretty eerie!! I thought it must a a huge bushfire somewhere near and Rob brushed it off.

Then, the newsflash came on during Cricket and it was Kinglake on fire - the place we pick raspberry every year!!! I hope the raspberry farm and family is spared.

Rob's workmates lived in Kinglake and luckily they escaped injuries. One lost a house, another a car.

I will remember the eerie sky the rest of my life...

River said...

I clicked over and read Baino's post and I'm so glad I did. One of her commenters has mentioned a way we can help even if we can't afford the $$$. Tomorrow, after work, I'll be heading in to the city to donate blood for the red cross in Victoria. They're going to be needing so much and mine is a fairly uncommon type.

The Prince of Centraxis said...

Move out of southern oz before all is lost. The only places that don't burn are RAINFORESTS!

Where's there's fire today, there'll be ice sheets soon...

See http://hermetic.blog.com
http://enlightenmenty.today.com

Kath Lockett said...

River, if we could only divert the Qld water to here, a lot of agony would have been prevented. I *love* the idea of donating blood as well (but they never take mine due to living in the UK, having a brain tumour - however small - and a tattoo - also small). I'll be looking at spare clothes to give away too.

Prince of Centraxis - you are probably right, but it won't be ice sheets down here, just desert. Love Chunks is a meteorologist and already said that Far North Qld and Darwin will be the places to buy property in.

Baino said...

It's awful Kath. I've stopped watching the news tonight, so much anguish. In NSW they've arrested one idiot who lit a fire at Somersby Falls and I'm now just hopeful that someone is called to account for the horrors of Victoria. Thanks River, RyanIam is a Rural Fire Service volunteer, he's only 22 bless him . . .I gave blood today and yes, they are desperate. Plus there are a number of appeals around but Kath's link is fine and appropriate.

Radge said...

Excuse my ignorance, but has it been arson in general? I've seen bits on the news but not much. Heart goes out to those affected.

Lee said...

Our hearts and prayers to you and your countrymen.

BEA said...

Our thoughts are with you all.. as we watch the news here..

Best regards from Bea in Denmark

Romana said...

it certainly puts things in perspective, that is for sure.

The Man at the Pub said...

Very odd, to be living in Melbourne, slammed by the heat though not directly affected by the fires (I saw that very weird sky drb), while the outskirts of town have been decimated. You know it could happen one day but you never think it actually will. I'm having trouble registering it. Australia doesn't have mass fatalities... it's a safe place, right? But here we are and so many of Victorians are hurting so bad, loosing it all, friends, family, pets, homes, the lot. I was only in Marysville the other week, a wonderful town, some friends used to live there. Now it's gone, as it stood. But the towns will be back because the community is strong, though the pain will linger for generations. Very sad times indeed. Shocking.

Mademoiselle Rose said...

Hi

I'm leaving a comment here as I have found out another we can help, as I know we all feel so helpless. Coles and Woolworths are donating all profits from goods brought from their supermarkets, Coles on the 13th of February and Woolies on the 20th of February. I'm putting off doing my shopping today to do it Friday so I can feel like I am doing something to help. Pass the word on, it's Australia wide on those dates.

Warmest regards
Vickie...