Sunday, 8 February 2009

tragic deaths in Victorian fires - animals and humans

The temperature reached 118°F in parts of Victoria yesterday, with Melbourne reaching 115.5° F (46.4°C, the highest temperature ever recorded), and the whole state went up in flames. It's hard to imagine in the twenty-first century, but humankind was helpless in the face of nature.

If human activity has changed the climate of our planet, it looks like Victoria is going to be one of the worst-affected places on earth, unfortunately.

Scores of people died in their homes and their cars. The official death toll keeps rising, as the emergency services get access to the areas that have been burnt out. Terrible scenes of destruction and devastation play out hour after hour on our television and the radio is one continuous stream of warnings and reports. I think the most appalling thing I heard today was the instruction to people in one town not to leave, because it was too late.

Stay in your home, the announcer ordered. And I thought, what if the inhabitants knew their house could not weather the fire storm? Then the man on the radio said to move quickly to a well-prepared neighbor's house, if you thought your own home would burn. Even sitting in my air-conditioned car in the middle of Melbourne, I felt terrified.

And the pets... I looked at Penny, lying on the seat beside me and shuddered for those who could not get back to their homes and knew their beloved pets were locked in the house. In some cases emergency shelters will not take pets. I don't know why - perhaps space is at a premium.

But how could you leave them behind?

And the stock and the wildlife...

You'd think we'd become used to scenes of weeping farmers shooting cattle lying in agony in a burnt-out paddock. But we don't.

I see flocks of birds sweeping across the sky and I think, at least you can fly. But the koalas can't leave fast enough. Or the kangaroos. Or the wombats. Or the lizards. Or the snakes. Or the butterflies. Or the spiders. Or the ants.



Maggie and Mitch said...

It's just horrible! We pray these extreme temps are behind you VERY soon! Stay safe!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

Amber said...

HI there, I'm Nala and I found you through Rusty's blog. That is terrible that these fires are destroying sooo much. :( How sad and terrifying. I sure hope they stop soon...we are thinking positive thoughts for everyone affected by the fires. :( Glad you are in a different place Miss Penny. ;)


Slavenka said...

I saw on TV today, what are the horrors caused by the fires.
Parlance, I really hope that you and your family will be good.
All the best.

Life With Dogs said...

Bad news no matter how you slice it. Stay safe!

Gillian said...

With all the horror of seeing the human cost of the Victorian fires, thanks for thinking about all the animals, so defenseless, perhaps the people managed to get their dog or cat (perhaps not) but no-one had time for their beloved horse, goat, chickens and many others how fearful for all those people and animals (domestic and wild) who never had a chance.
Please give generously to Victorian Fire Appeals AND WIRES for the animals.

Thinking of all those lost and grieving.

parlance said...

thanks for the thoughts, everyone, and Gillian, you are so right - the poor animals. Humans and other species are united in suffering right now.

parlance said...

Thanks for the thoughts, everyone, and Gillian, you are so right - the poor animals. Humans and other species are united in suffering right now.