Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Victoria is burning

This is a picture my friends and I took a couple of weeks ago, at a beautiful waterfall just outside the picturesque township of Marysville, just northeast of Melbourne.

This is what Marysville looks like today:

Victoria's bushfires have made news around the world, and appear to be the worst in Australian recorded history. The death toll is around 200 and counting, and entire towns, just like Marysville, have been virtually wiped off the map. I watched on the news and saw the town's main street, and a spot where I had been standing watching the Australia Day parade. Except now it looked like a bomb had hit it, a fire-blasted scene of rubble and devastation. Likewise, St Andrews, the hippified site of my favourite market, has also been horribly affected by the fire. I visited there barely a month ago.

Police report that at least some of the numerous fires burning in different parts of the state must have been deliberately lit. Broken power lines, lightning and discarded cigarettes are common possible causes. Either way, the landscape was like kindling after 2 weeks of frequent 40+ degrees celsius temperatures.

A number of my family and friends lived near to some of the affected areas, but fortunately the fire didn't reach them. Many however were not so lucky, and my heart goes out to all those affected by this disaster.

Amongst all the horror and despair, we have still seen how tragedy can bring out the best in people's nature, and the efforts of the volunteers in fighting fires and helping those in need can not be overstated. Likewise, people all round the country have opened their hearts and wallets to make donations to help those who have lost their houses and loved ones.

If you are keen to make a donation, you can find out more about it at

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