Given we are so far away here in Australia, I thought our IMAGO friends and colleagues might like to know the affect the terrible fires are having on so many communities around the Great South Land, our home…. Australia. I should also point out that where my wife Linda and I live, which is on the Gold Coast in Queensland we are all ok, and have only been affected by smoke.
These have been the worst fires on record and there are so many people who have lost their homes, animals, treasured memories, livelihoods etc. We have also lost so many species of animals native only to Australia, including thousands of koalas, smaller mammals, kangaroos etc. It is such a tragedy for so many. Also the fire and emergency services, both regular and volunteer who have worked tirelessly with no end in sight at this time, indeed as it so happens we are expecting temperatures this coming weekend in excess of 43 degrees. We salute them for doing what they do without complaint, and we must learn that as a country we need to support these amazing people at all times, both emotionally and financially, given the horrendous things they are dealing with on our behalf.
But I know in true Aussie spirit people will get on with things and rebuild, of course it will take many years to recover from this calamity and for those that have lost loved ones, that will be so much harder and our hearts go out to them.
As I write this, the small Victorian seaside holiday town of Mallacoota, which is in Gippsland has been devastated and there are around 4000 people on the safe haven of the beach and the ocean, having escaped the fires but are now awaiting evacuation by the Australian navy, that is how bad things are. Overall, forty-seven fires are still actively burning, with more than 1000 firefighters working day and night to contain the blazes. A total of 325 fires started in the 24 hours prior to 2pm yesterday.
We remain the "lucky country", but we are now more than ever convinced climate change has changed our lives forever, and we must remain steadfast and as one with our wonderful country and all Australians. For many years our indigenous First Australians have offered advice to our governments on how to use seasonal burn off to clear a build up of vegetation and allow the earth and native plants to regenerate…. perhaps if this had been done the current fires would not be as fierce as there would have been limited fuel to burn. Personally, I hope that now our politicians and those denying the effects of climate change will listen. Let us hope it is not too little, too late.
Warm regards and thanks to all of you that have asked how we are and many thanks to Claire Pijman for her kind words.….
Ron Johanson ACS
A kookaburra looks on…..
A koala makes run for it…..was rescued and taken to hospital.
A firefighter gives water to a koala.
A 12 year old boy escapes in the family fishing boat.
A farmer battles the fire with a hose. His mate watches on.