TThousands of people are in East Australia through the
including devastating bushfire – now the military is rushing to help with ships and helicopters. The government announced on Wednesday that it would use sea-going boats to bring food and water to the people who had to flee the flames to the beaches. Aid is expected to arrive in the coastal towns of New South Wales and Victoria on Thursday or Friday.
In addition, people are to be brought to safety with the help of helicopters.
The worst fires are currently in the coastal town of Mallacoota in Victoria, around 500 kilometers east of Melbourne. More than 4000 people had fled to the beaches there by New Year’s morning alone. The city itself is at great risk from the fire. The sky was colored red by the fire during the day.
The bush fires have raged on the continent since October, but now the situation has deteriorated: in New South Wales alone, an area the size of Belgium has meanwhile burned down, almost 1,000 houses have been destroyed. And an end to the inferno is not in sight. On Tuesday the temperatures rose to well over 40 degrees. Severe weather with strong gusts of wind was also expected, which could further fuel the fire.
More dead and missing feared
Meanwhile, the authorities have confirmed a new death from the fire. It was feared that another person had come in life, four people were missing, and around 200 houses had been burned out, the authorities announced on Wednesday.
A man’s body was found in a burned car early in the morning on the south coast of New South Wales (NSW), the state’s chief of police, Shane Fitzsimmons, said. He expects the number of victims to increase. “We still have serious concerns about someone else,” Fitzsimmons told reporters in Sydney. There is limited access to the remote area to confirm the status of the 72-year-old man in one way or another. “
In the state of Victoria, according to Prime Minister Daniel Andrews, four people are missing in the Gippsland region around 500 kilometers east of Melbourne. Around 4,000 people made their way to the water in the city of Mallacoota after flames blocked the escape route on the main street. Mark Tregella’s resident said only a last minute change in wind direction saved lives. “The fire grew and then the black fell around us. I couldn’t see the hand in front of my eyes. Then it started to glow red and we knew the fire was coming, ”Tregellas told Reuters. “Ashes and embers rained on us. People brought themselves and their children to safety in the shallow water. Fortunately, the direction of the wind changed and the fire started. “
Fires can trigger lightning and tornadoes themselves
With the thousands still stranded, the military was drafted in to ensure supplies and help with evacuations. In NSW alone, more than 100 fires are still burning, thousands of firefighters are on the job. In total, there have been twelve fire-related deaths across Australia since the bush fire in October, including three volunteer firefighters.
The huge bush fires have since destroyed more than four million hectares and new ones are added every day due to extremely hot, windy and dry conditions. The fires have now reached a level in which they can trigger dry lightning strikes and fire tornadoes, which further exacerbates the situation.